Trump says he’s reducing Central American aid over migrants

A child is carried over the border fence as thousands of Honduran migrants rush across the border towards Mexico, in Tecun Uman, Guatemala, Friday, Oct. 19, 2018. Migrants broke down the gates at the border crossing and began streaming toward a bridge into Mexico. After arriving at the tall, yellow metal fence some clambered atop it and on U.S.-donated military jeeps. Young men began violently tugging on the barrier and finally succeeded in tearing it down. (AP Photo/Oliver de Ros)

A child is carried over the border fence as thousands of Honduran migrants rush across the border towards Mexico, in Tecun Uman, Guatemala, Friday, Oct. 19, 2018. Migrants broke down the gates at the border crossing and began streaming toward a bridge into Mexico. After arriving at the tall, yellow metal fence some clambered atop it and on U.S.-donated military jeeps. Young men began violently tugging on the barrier and finally succeeded in tearing it down. (AP Photo/Oliver de Ros)

President Donald Trump said Monday the U.S. would begin “cutting off, or substantially reducing” aid to three Central American nations over a migrant caravan heading to the U.S. southern border.

Trump tweeted: “Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were not able to do the job of stopping people from leaving their country and coming illegally to the U.S.”

Migrants bound for the U.S.-Mexico border wait on a bridge that stretches over the Suchiate River, connecting Guatemala and Mexico, in Tecun Uman, Guatemala, Friday, Oct. 19, 2018. The gated entry into Mexico via the bridge has been closed. The U.S. president has made it clear to Mexico that he is monitoring its response. On Thursday he threatened to close the U.S. border if Mexico didn’t stop the caravan. (AP Photo/Oliver de Ros)

The three countries received a combined more than $500 million in funding from the U.S. in fiscal year 2017, though it was not immediately clear how much Trump is seeking to cut.

The Monday morning tweets marked the latest escalation by the president, who is seeking to re-inject immigration politics into the national conversation in the closing weeks of the midterm elections.

On a three-day campaign swing to Western states last week, Trump raised alarm over thousands of migrants traveling through Mexico to the U.S. and threatened to seal off the U.S.-Mexico border if they weren’t stopped.

As the migrants continued their northward march about 900 miles from the U.S. border, Trump tweeted that, “Sadly, it looks like Mexico’s Police and Military are unable to stop the Caravan.

He added: “I have alerted Border Patrol and Military that this is a National Emergy.” White House officials could not immediately provide details.

A Pentagon spokesman, Army Lt. Col. Jamie Davis, said the Pentagon has received no new orders to provide troops for border security.

AP writer Bob Burns contributed.

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