WASHINGTON (Reuters) –US President Donald Trump yesterday called on Congress to pass immigration legislation, one day after saying he would not consider a deal to protect young immigrants and terminate a trade deal with Mexico if they did not do more to secure its border with the US.
“Congress must immediately pass Border Legislation, use Nuclear Option if necessary, to stop the massive inflow of Drugs and People … Act now Congress, our country is being stolen!” Mr Trump said on Twitter.
Mr Trump reiterated his call for Mexico to stop people from entering the US, saying Mexico’s border laws work.” One of his tweets apparently referred to a group of 1,500 men, women and children from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador who are traveling in a so-called “refugee caravan” organised by Pueblo sin Fronteras, a US-based immigration advocacy group.
One of Mr Trump’s signature campaign promises was to build a wall along the southern US border and insisted that Mexico would pay for it. Mexico has refused to do so.
Mr Trump had said he was open to a deal with congressional Democrats to receive funds for the wall in exchange for protection for young immigrants brought to the country as children, who are known as Dreamers.
Former US President Barack Obama started the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012. Mr Trump rescinded the program in October, but courts have ruled that it can remain in place for now.
The US is also in the midst of renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico and Canada.
Despite Mr Trump’s overtures to congressional Democrats on immigration, no deal has materialised. The Senate, which is controlled by Republicans, considered several immigration proposals in February, but rejected all of them.
In the first few months after Mr Trump took office, the number of people who crossed the border illegally and were apprehended dropped. But since April 2017, arrests have risen and surpassed those in the Obama administration.