WASHINGTON (CNN/CBS) — President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that the U.S.-Mexico border will be guarded with American troops.
This comes as Cabinet officials gathered at the White House to discuss issues including immigration and border security.
Trump said the U.S. will guard the border with Mexico “militarily” until the U.S. has “a wall and proper security.”
“We’re going to be guarding our border with the military. It’s a big step, we really haven’t done that before,” said Trump.
Trump also blamed former President Barack Obama for essentially creating “no border” and called immigration laws “pathetic and weak” due to the Democrats. However, the president did applaud Mexico’s immigration laws, calling them “very powerful and very strong.”
Defense Secretary James Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen were among those taking part.
The conversation covered issues ranging from construction of a border wall to the “caravan” of people making their way to the U.S. from Central America — an annual publicity effort to call attention to the plight of Central American migrants that has drawn furious tweets from Trump in recent days.
Part of the conversations included discussions about possibly using government money approved for the Pentagon on the construction of the border wall — a desire of Trump’s that faces exceedingly long odds given the nature of congressional appropriations. Democratic lawmakers have opposed such an effort and, more broadly, lawmakers have expressed concern that the Pentagon would lose needed funds for military readiness and strengthening.
Nielsen on Monday discussed the issue of the caravan with her Mexican counterparts, according to a tweet from Mexican Secretary Alfonso Navarrete that DHS confirmed occurred. Navarrete said the pair agreed to address migrant flows in accordance with each country’s laws.
In a statement Monday night, Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said its authorities have offered some refuge and protective measures to the annual caravan and that roughly 400 of the participants in the group have already been removed from Mexico back to their home countries.
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