WASHINGTON – Members of the ultra-violent MS-13 gang and people from the Middle East are among a caravan of thousands of mostly Honduran migrants bound for the United States, President Donald Trump said Monday.
Speaking to reporters before leaving for Texas, where he was to speak at a political rally, Trump said: “Take your camera, go into the middle, and search.
“You’re going to find MS-13, you’re going to find Middle Eastern, you’re going to find everything. And guess what, we’re not allowing them in our country. We want safety, we want safety.”
Trump has kept near-daily Twitter attacks on the approaching caravan, calling it a national emergency, and saying he had alerted the U.S. Border Patrol and military to take action.
He also reiterated that he was prepared to cut off aid to Central American countries from where many of the undocumented migrants to the US originate.
“We give them hundreds of millions of dollars. They do nothing for us … They can do a lot better job,” he said.
Trump has consistently sought to portray illegal immigrants as dangerous criminals who pose a threat to the United States.
During his presidential campaign, he also vowed a complete ban on Muslims entering the country, arguing that all members of the faith group presented a terror risk.
His administration eventually barred travelers from five primarily Muslim nations plus North Korea and Venezuela.
MS-13, also known as the Mara Salvatrucha, is one of the criminal groups behind a wave of violence in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
The gang was formed in Los Angeles by Salvadoran immigrants fleeing civil war in the 1980s and remains active in the United States.