President Donald Trump spent what was billed as an immigration policy speech on Thursday largely repeating his campaign rally rhetoric on the migrant caravan working its way toward the southern U.S. border — and this time he said migrants throwing stones could end up shot by U.S. troops.
> In a speech at the White House that contained several falsehoods, the president said he seeking to limit asylum claims only to those who applied at legal entry points. He claimed the move was necessary because a succession of migrant caravans - their location still 1,000 miles from the border – was considered by some people to be “an invasion”.
> “Asylum is not a programme for those living in poverty. There are billions of people in the world living at the poverty level. The United States cannot possibly absorb them all,” he said.
> “Asylum is a very specific protection based on those fleeing persecution.”
The Central American migrants, mostly from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, are fleeing not only poverty but high levels of violence in their home countries.
The president went on to say that U.S. troops — of which he sent 5,200 to the border — should treat stones and rocks the same as bullets, referencing reports of violence between migrants and authorities at Mexico’s border with Guatemala which left one migrant dead.
> Mr Trump said he had told military commanders at the southern US border, that if migrants try to throw rocks at them, the troops should act as though the rocks were “rifles”.
> “I hope there won’t be that. But I will tell you this, anybody throwing stones, rocks like they did to Mexico…- where they badly hurt police and soldiers of Mexico – we will consider that a firearm,” the president said.
> “Because there’s not much difference when you get hit in the face with a rock.”
Some responded to Trump’s remarks insisting the military would not follow through with such orders even if they were officially given:
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) criticized Trump for politicizing the caravan ahead of next week’s elections:
> “Let’s face it,” Mr Corker told reporters in Nashville, according to The Tennessean. “We all know what’s happening. It’s all about revving up the base, using fear to stimulate people to come out at the polls.”
> He added: “I’ve just never been angry at someone who wants to come to the greatest nation on earth and live the kind of life that we lead. To make pejorative statements about all of them….I don’t approve of that. I don’t.”