President Donald Trump on Thursday warned that soldiers deployed to the Mexican border could shoot Central American migrants who throw stones at them while attempting to cross illegally.
Trump told journalists at the White House that a group of several thousand migrants attempting to walk from Central America through Mexico had thrown rocks “viciously and violently” at Mexican police.
“We’re not going to put up with that. They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back,” he said.
“I told them (troops) consider it (a rock) a rifle. When they throw rocks like they did at the Mexican military and police, I say consider it a rifle.”
The anti-immigration president has ramped up rhetoric daily ahead of next Tuesday’s midterm congressional elections, accusing the opposition Democrats of wanting to throw open the borders to floods of “tough people,” “rapists” and other types of threats.
But despite Trump’s increasingly severe warnings of immigration chaos, the government on Wednesday issued figures saying that only about 400,000 people have been apprehended at the border in 2018, down from around 1.6 million in 2000.
Trump said he was not anti-immigrant but wanted immigration to be completely brought under control.
“Mass uncontrolled immigration is especially unfair to the many wonderful law-abiding immigrants already living here who followed the rules and waited their turn,” he said.
“Some have been waiting for many years. Some have been waiting a long time. They have done everything perfectly, and they are going to come in.”