US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrives in Panama kickstarting his tour of the Central American region that President Donald Trump blames for an "onslaught" of US-bound migrants.
President Donald Trump is suggesting without evidence that Democrats or their allies are supporting a "caravan" of Central American migrants who are travelling north aiming to enter the United States.
Addressing thousands of supporters at a campaign rally in Montana on Thursday, Trump said immigration is now one of the leading issues in the 2018 midterms, and he accused Democrats of supporting the migrants because they "figure everybody coming in is going to vote Democrat."
The comments mark the injection of one of Trump's signature 2016 campaign themes back into the national conversation as he looks to boost Republican turnout to maintain their congressional majorities in 2018.
Trump was in Montana to boost GOP Senate candidate Matt Rosendale, who is running against Democratic Sen. Jon Tester a lawmaker the president says has been a "disaster for Montana."
TRT World's Christine Pirovolakis reports.
Pompeo begins tour of Latin America
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived Thursday in Panama at the start of a tour of the Central American region that President Donald Trump blames for an "onslaught" of US-bound migrants.
Pompeo, who will head to Mexico on Friday, had talks in Panama City with President Juan Carlos Varela and Foreign Minister Isabel Saint Malo, who is also vice-president.
There were no statements after the meeting that lasted less than an hour but officials earlier said illegal immigration would be among the topics for discussion.
Pompeo's arrival in Latin America comes amid tensions over a caravan of thousands of Honduran migrants heading through Guatemala to Mexico with the hope of reaching the United States.
Earlier Thursday, Trump threatened to send the military to close the US-Mexican border against an "onslaught" of Central American migrants.
On Friday, a huge group of Honduran migrants broke through a Guatemalan border barrier and forced their way onto Mexican territory, as lines of riot police tried to keep them from advancing past the bridge between the two countries.
....The assault on our country at our Southern Border, including the Criminal elements and DRUGS pouring in, is far more important to me, as President, than Trade or the USMCA. Hopefully Mexico will stop this onslaught at their Northern Border. All Democrats fault for weak laws!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2018
In a Tweet, Trump called the caravan "an assault on our country by Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador."
Earlier on Tuesday, Trump threatened Central American countries with aid cuts if they failed to stop the caravan.
Mexico to ask UN for help with a migrant caravan
Mexico announced on Thursday that it would ask the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, for help in processing the arrival of a caravan of up to 4,000 migrants at its southern border that is bound for the United States.
In a press release, Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray said he would formally submit the request later that day in a meeting with UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres in New York.
“This measure aims to ensure the security and integrity of migrants particularly of minors, elderly people and women, and to prevent them from becoming victims of criminal organizations dedicated to human trafficking who would put their lives at risk,” the statement said.
On October 13, a thousand migrants left on foot from Honduras for the United States an estimated 2,500 kilometers (1,553 miles) away.
On Thursday, the group, which reportedly grew to 4,000 people in Guatemala, was headed to the southern border of Mexico, with some of its members already at the border.