US 'full', can't take more | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 07, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:20 AM, April 07, 2019

US 'full', can't take more

Trump tells migrants, asylum seekers at Mexico border

US President Donald Trump visited the Mexican border on Friday to deliver a message to would-be illegal immigrants and asylum seekers: don't bother coming.

"The system is full and we can't take you anymore... Our country is full," he said at a meeting with border patrol officers and other officials in Calexico, California. "So turn around, that's the way it is."

Shortly after, Trump visited a section of recently refurbished border wall -- something he wants extended across far more of the US-Mexico frontier -- and said illegal immigrants had previously been "pouring" in.

The California trip followed a retreat from earlier threats to close the border, which had sparked fears of serious economic damage.

Nevertheless, Trump sees his campaign against a "crisis" on the border as key to his 2020 reelection bid, and his time in Calexico was meant to keep that message in the headlines.

Numbers of migrants and asylum seekers fleeing violence in Central America have risen sharply, although there are enormous political divides on whether this constitutes the "national emergency" that Trump has declared.

Around 200 protesters, accompanied by a giant inflatable balloon depicting Trump as a baby, were waiting for the president in Mexicali, the town on the Mexican side of the frontier.

Waving US and Mexican flags, the protesters carried signs with messages such as "Stop separating families" and "If you build the wall, my generation will tear it down."

On the US side, dozens of people lined the road that Trump's motorcade took, demonstrating support for his policies. "Build the wall," said one placard.

Before leaving Washington earlier Friday, Trump said that his previous threats to shut down the border had been successful in persuading Mexican authorities to clamp down by stopping migrants on their journey north.

"Mexico, I have to say, has been very, very good... over the last four days since I talked about shutting down the border," he said.

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