President Donald Trump went Friday to the Mexican border to deliver a message to would be illegal immigrants: the United States has no room left to take them.
Trump sees his campaign against a “crisis” on the border as key to his 2020 reelection bid, and his trip to Calexico in California was meant to keep that message in the headlines.
Numbers of migrants and asylum seekers fleeing violence in Central America have risen sharply, although there are enormous political divides on whether this constitutes the “national emergency” that Trump has declared.
At a meeting with border patrol agents and other officials in Calexico, he said “it’s overwhelming our immigration system and we can’t let that happen.”
Then in a message to those heading for the United States, he said: “The system is full and we can’t take you anymore…. Our country is full.”
“So turn around, that’s the way it is,” he said.
Around 200 protesters, accompanied by a giant inflatable balloon depicting Trump as a baby, were waiting for the president in Mexicali, the town on the Mexican side of the frontier.
Waving US and Mexican flags, the protesters carried signs with messages such as “Stop separating families” and “If you build the wall, my generation will tear it down.”
On the US side, dozens of people lined the road that Trump’s motorcade took from the airport, demonstrating support for his policies. “Build the wall,” said one placard.
Trump is determined to pursue a hard line. (AFP)