The so-called migrant caravan, which peaked at more than 7,000 individuals, has now dwindled to around 3,000. The group remains more than 900 miles from the U.S.
Nevertheless, Trump is reportedly considering several possible options to thwart their entry, including one plan to shut the southern border to Central Americans entirely and deny them the option to seek asylum, according to reports from The Washington Post.
The proposed plan would reportedly invoke Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act—the same that Trump used during the 2017 travel ban—to rule that these groups are not eligible to apply for asylum because it “would be contrary to the national interest” and “detrimental to the interests of the United States.”
Should the administration choose to move forward with this option, it could not only disqualify those comprising the caravan from gaining entry to the U.S.—it could also significantly alter long-held asylum laws that allow people who are fleeing violence and persecution at home to seek refuge in the U.S.
Other possible options have not been made public, but one administration official said they include a “wide range of administrative, legal, and legislative options.” Another official said, “Everything is on the table.”
In addition, the administration is preparing to deploy up to 1,000 additional troops to the border in anticipation of the caravan’s arrival. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told Fox News on Thursday night that the military does not “have any intention right now to shoot at people” if they cross illegally into the U.S. But, she added, “they will be apprehended.”