President Donald Trump on Thursday vowed “very dramatic” action to address the refugee crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, saying he would make a “big league statement” later in the day or Friday, but otherwise providing few details on how he planned to up the pressure on his signature and divisive issue.
“It will be a statement having to do with the border and having to do with people illegally coming over the border,” Trump said.” And it will be my biggest statement, so far, on the border. We have brought something to the light of the people. They see now it’s a national emergency, and most people agree. The Democrats agree, too, but they won’t give us the legislation you need to fix it.”
The president teased the announcement as he left the White House on a trip to Colorado but revealed little when reporters pressed him for more.
“Right now, when you catch somebody, you have to release them,” Trump answered, blaming Democrats. “They won’t give us the legislation. Whether it’s chain migration or whether it’s a lottery, they won’t give us any. And the asylum procedures are ridiculous. No place in the world has what we have in terms of ridiculous immigration laws.”
Trump’s latest political move on illegal immigration comes as administration officials told ABC News in Guatemala that they are now targeting transportation networks for migrants with the same focus and effort as drug smugglers.
Migrants families are arriving in record numbers this year, with officials expecting to handle some 1 million people at the southern border this year — double the number of last year. The reasons are complex, ranging from poverty to threats from gangs to weather-related disasters that have wiped out farmland.