As thousands of Central-American migrants continue their journey north to the United States border, President Donald Trump continues to hurl baseless accusations and vicious attacks at the asylum seekers. He called the group “an assault on our country,” while speaking at a midterm rally in Texas for Republican senator Ted Cruz on Monday (October 22), The Associated Press reports. “We need to build a wall fast,” he added.
The president’s strategy is to escalate fear among his supporters and position Democrats as a threat to America. His tactics are clear, even if his facts are murky. “Democrat immigration policies allow poisonous drugs and MS-13 to pour into our country, and Democrat sanctuary cities release dangerous criminals from jail and into your neighborhoods,” Trump said at the rally, per The Atlantic. He later tweeted an unsupported claim that “criminals and unknown Middle Easterners” can be found in the middle of the caravan.
For the people who are fleeing their home countries in pursuit of help for their families, these attacks are particularly distressing. “We are not terrorists. We are hard workers,” Diana Chavez, a member of the caravan, told CNN. “That’s why I’m going to the U.S., so I can give them a better life,” she said.
So far more than 7,000 people have reached southern Mexico, and CNN reports that most have no plans to turn around. The group, led by humanitarian organization Pueblo Sin Fronteras, says it won’t be deterred by Trump’s antics. Asylum seeker Ana Guefaro told CNN she is hopeful the U.S. will lend her a hand in spite of the president’s warnings. “We ask Trump if he could help us because we come from a country that we had to leave because of its unemployment,” she said. “We need to work.”
Guefaro continued, “We are not delinquents. We have to leave our country because it’s very dangerous. We don’t have the support of our government, don’t have the necessities to survive.”