'I Didn't Say Shoot': Trump Doubles Down On Threat To Shoot Immigrants

President Donald Trump on Friday backtracked from his suggestion a day earlier that American troops sent to the US border with Mexico would be free to fire on migrants who throw rocks at them, saying that rock-throwers would only be arrested.

In a meandering speech at the White House about immigration, Trump recycled numerous talking points he touts on the campaign trail - but offered little in the way of concrete ways to address the problems he embellished. "And just a lot more of them also were sitting under tents in lawn chairs with binoculars looking at the border looking for anyone suspected of the crossing".

Earlier in the day, a third caravan of migrants - this time from El Salvador - waded over the Suchiate River into Mexico on Friday, bringing another 1,000 to 1,500 people who want to reach the US border.

The suspect in that case, Robert Bowers, reportedly posted anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant comments on social media, claiming Jews were helping a migrant caravan that he likened to "invaders". They were throwing rocks in their faces.

Trump said he plans to sign an executive order next week that would deny asylum to those trying to enter the United States illegally.

Then, clarifying his previous statement, Trump added: "I didn't say shoot".

Parents travelling in a US-bound caravan of thousands of Central American migrants and refugees are taking legal action on behalf of their children against US President Donald Trump's border detention plans. Administration officials have railed against what they say are loopholes created to encourage people, especially from Central America, to come to the US and claim asylum.

For the vast majority of our country's history the military didn't do its work overseas - its number one job was to defend the United States and its borders. The 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, which was originally passed to prevent federal troops from policing voting in former Confederate states, restricts the use of the armed forces to enforce laws.

The first 100 active-duty troops have arrived at the U.S. They spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly by name.

The US President has already attacked undocumented immigrants ahead of next week's mid-terms by announcing plans to send at least 5,200 active-duty troops ― and possibly as many as 15,000 ― to the southern border to address migrant caravans, which are now 900 miles away. President Donald Trump has said the number could reach 15,000.

Responding to Mr Yunes in an open letter, the migrants said the governor's decision to withdraw his offer to help transport people hundreds of kilometres was unacceptable.

On Thursday, Trump said his administration was finalising a plan to require asylum seekers to enter the country through legal ports of entry, although it remained unclear whether such a limitation would be legally possible.

The president, speaking in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, told reporters: "We have no choice".

"The legal problem with Trump's plan to stop caravan persons from entering this country is that Plaintiffs are seeking asylum, and Trump simply can not stop them from legally doing so by using military, or anyone", the filing read.

Trump has focused increasingly on immigration heading into the final days of the midterms, as Republicans across the country struggle to match their opponents in drumming up voter enthusiasm.

- By Jill Colvin and Colleen Long.

Trump has already ordered over 5,000 troops to secure the border from the approaching caravans.

It was reminiscent of the infamous "Willie Horton" ad used against Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis in 1988 and condemned as racist.

The ad shows Luis Bracamontes laughing at a court hearing before he was handed a death sentence and profanely vowing, "I'm gonna kill more cops soon". The 53-second spot includes expletives uttered by Bracamontes during his trial as he professed regret at not killing more officials.

The captioned reads: "Illegal immigrant, Luis Bracamontes, killed our people!"

Trump said atop the ad, "It is outrageous what the Democrats are doing to our Country". Earlier in the week, the US President had claimed the migrant caravan had claimed there were terrorists, unknown Middle-Easterners and MS-13 gang members in the caravan, even while admitting he had no proof.

The second caravan, also of about 1,000 to 1,500 people, is now in Mapastepec, Chiapas.

  • Rogelio Becker