Washington (AFP) – US President Donald Trump accused Mexico on Sunday of doing “very little” to stop the flow of people across the US border, and threatened to target the North American Free Trade Agreement in retaliation.
His Easter Sunday comments on Twitter came in apparent response to the movement of hundreds of Central Americans across Mexico in a “migrant viacrucis” (“way of the cross”) caravan headed for the US border.
“Mexico is doing very little, if not NOTHING, at stopping people from flowing into Mexico through their Southern Border, and then into the U.S. They laugh at our dumb immigration laws.
“They must stop the big drug and people flows, or I will stop their cash cow, NAFTA. NEED WALL!”
A group called Pueblo Sin Frontera, or People Without Borders, organized the mass movement through Mexico as a way of helping Central American migrants avoid criminal gangs and harassment by authorities as they trek to the US border.
About 1,500 migrants from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, including entire families, set off on March 25 from the southern Mexican state of Chiapas.
“These big flows of people are all trying to take advantage of DACA. They want in on the act!” Trump said, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Trump repealed the Obama-era program, which protects immigrants who arrived in the country without documents as children, but it is currently tied up in the courts.
His attempts to reach a compromise with Democrats on DACA — in return for funding for a Mexico border wall — have so far failed.
His administration is also re-negotiating the terms of NAFTA, the 1994 trade accord with Canada and Mexico, which he has threatened to scrap.