Migrant Caravan Stokes Support for Republicans Ahead of Key Elections

© REUTERS / Edgard GarridoA Central American migrant child, part of a caravan trying to reach the US, cries while waiting to apply for asylum in Mexico at a checkpoint in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, October 20, 2018
A Central American migrant child, part of a caravan trying to reach the US, cries while waiting to apply for asylum in Mexico at a checkpoint in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, October 20, 2018 - Sputnik International
Reports of Central Americans making their way to the US-Mexico border by forming a migrant caravan are only helping to rally up Republican supporters ahead of the US midterm elections, Juan José Gutiérrez, executive director of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition, told Sputnik.

US President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Monday and claimed in several tweets that the caravan is a national emergency, stressing that laws must be changed to protect US borders against "criminals and unknown Middle Easterners" who have reportedly "mixed" themselves into the thousands of individuals heading to the US-Mexico border.

​Additionally, Trump indicated that since Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador failed to hold back the migrants, economic aid given to said countries would either now be entirely cut off or substantially reduced. According to the Hill, in fiscal year 2017, the US shelled out a sum of more than $500 million to the trio.


​Reflecting on reports surrounding the migrant caravan, Gutiérrez told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear on Monday that he has no doubt that news of the caravan is "a blessing in disguise" for the Republican Party.

"I believe that this immigrant caravan has been transformed into one giant political commercial for congressional Republicans trying to get reelected and retain control in Congress," Gutiérrez told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou.

Honduran migrants board trucks sending them back to Honduras, after they crossed the border into Guatemala illegally in their bid to reach the U.S., in Agua Caliente, Guatemala October 17, 2018. - Sputnik International
Trump Lacks Power to Cut Aid to Central America Over Migrant Caravan – Lawmaker

"This immigrant caravan… is doing the job of rallying the Republican base, rebranding undocumented immigrants as criminals, and it's making the argument to build the US-Mexico border wall for Donald Trump."

"And, of course, it allows Donald Trump and the Republicans to directly attack the Democrats and blame them for the state of chaos of our immigration policy… no doubt about it, this is great news for the Republicans," he added.

In one of several tweets Trump sent out on the matter, he told his more than 55 million followers to "think of and blame the Democrats for not giving us the votes to change our pathetic immigration laws." POTUS later tossed in a "remember the midterms" for added measure.

Trump's latest remarks come after the Honduran Security Ministry announced that Bartolo Fuentes, journalist and organizer of the caravan, had been detained last week in Guatemala over his failure to comply with the country's immigration rules. Fuentes was detained after Trump initially threatened to cut off economic aid to the three Central American countries early last week.

Gutiérrez, however, isn't the only one who believes that Trump is benefitting from the journey of the migrant caravan. After arriving back in Honduras on Friday, Fuentes spoke with reporters at the Toncontín International Airport, telling them that 45 is using this incident to add fuel to his anti-immigration discourse.

Haitian migrants seeking asylum in the United States, queue at El Chaparral border crossing in the hope of getting an appointment with US migration authorities, in the Mexican border city of Tijuana, in Baja California, on October 7, 2016 - Sputnik International
Trump Alerts Border Patrol, Military That Migrant Caravan is National Emergency

There are other concerns regarding the caravan and how Honduran officials initially responded to the issue. Noting that the Honduran government could've easily prevented the caravan from leaving the country, Gutiérrez called the lack of action from Honduran officials "very suspicious."

"There's no question about it; they could've stopped it dead in its track… but that's not the situation we have. This drama is just getting started," he said.

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