Immigrant Caravan Heading Toward US Claims Trump Is 'Bullying' Them

The U.S. flag decorates a building in downtown Memphis Tennessee

The president has been tweeting about a so-called caravan of more than 1,000 migrants, many of whom plan to cross the U.S. -Mexico border and seek asylum.

Donald Trump is promising to deploy the "nuclear option" on key immigration issues that he says need to be addressed as a "migrant caravan" of 1,200 Central American refugees heads towards the U.S. -Mexico border.

Speaking during a visit with Baltic leaders, Trump said he's been discussing the idea with his Defense Secretary, Jim Mattis.

Trump, who earlier threatened to halt USA foreign aid to Honduras and other countries unless they stopped a "caravan" of Central American migrants headed to the United States, called use of the military at the southern border "a big step".

Federal law prohibits the use of active duty service members for law enforcement inside the US, unless specifically authorized by Congress. "Until we can have a wall and proper security, we're going to be guarding our border with the military", he said, calling the measure a "big step" that had rarely been done before.

The Department of Homeland Security and White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Posse Comitatus Act, passed after the Civil War, is the main federal law prohibiting the use of American service members in law enforcement, unless specifically authorized by Congress.

Mexican officials intensified efforts to process the dwindling group and determine whether they had the right to stay in Mexico or be returned to their countries of origin.

A lot of the migrants in the caravan are originally from Honduras; many of them told BuzzFeed they were fleeing poverty, violence and unrest after the contested election of Honduras' new president a year ago. The "caravan" had set out from Guatemala and was in south-central Mexico as of Monday.

The use of military forces at the Mexican border is not a new idea. But over the past 12 years, presidents have twice sent National Guard troops to the border to bolster security and assist with surveillance and other support. Democratic Senator Brian Schatz said Trump should have to ask for approval from Congress.

Republican Representative Francis Rooney, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said there was a risk of increased violence.

On Monday, the Republican president railed against Democrats over immigration and again pressed USA lawmakers to pass legislation to build his long-promised border wall between the United States and Mexico.

The nuclear option it's referring to means that, if implemented, Congress would only require a simple majority in order to pass legislation on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and immigration.

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