WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – President Donald Trump offered tough talk on immigration and new trade tariffs against China during a joint press conference with Balkan leaders.
The president also unveiled a new strategy to stop illegal border crossings.
“Until we can have a wall and proper security we’re going to be guarding our border with our military,” he said
Trump made the announcement during a lunch with the leaders of the Baltic countries. He cited a caravan of Central American migrants now making its way across Mexico as the reason he wants the borders secured by the military.
“This is a caravan of a lot of people coming in this case from Honduras. If it reaches our border, and our laws are so weak and pathetic,” he said. “It’s like we have no border because we had Obama make changes. President Obama made changes that basically created no border. Called catch and release.”
The caravan is an annual event held to protest the plight of Central Americans who want asylum in Mexico or the right to continue to the U.S.
Mexican authorities have halted the caravan in southern Mexico, far from the U.S. border.
At a news conference after the lunch, Trump again threatened to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to punish Mexico and renewed his call for building a border wall.
“But we have to have security at our border and we need to build our wall we have a billion and a half toward the ball and fixing the wall where it should have been in the first place,” he said.
The U.S. military has been called to the border in the past under President Barack Obama. Currently, illegal border crossings are at their lowest levels they’ve been in more than 30 years.
The white house is also considering new immigration legislation that would make it tougher for immigrants to apply for asylum, eliminate protections for certain children so they can be removed quickly, and keep families in detention for longer periods of time while their case moves through the immigration process.
“We can not have people flowing into our country illegally, disappearing and not showing up for court,” said Trump.
For the last several days the president has used Twitter to get out his message. But with cameras rolling on his news conference Tuesday, he also made the case for going after China to reduce what he said was a $500 billion a year trade deficit.
“We have a problem with China, they’ve created a trade deficit and I blame our representatives and our proceeding presidents for this,” he said.
The president is expected to announce additional tariffs against Chinese goods this week.