Independent estimates put the number of people in the USA illegally at less than half that amount. In the weeks leading up to the election, the president and his inner circle have frequently raised concerns about the caravan. Some people call it an invasion.
"They have injured, they have attacked." - immigration speech Thursday.
Though the first caravan once numbered as many as 7,000, it has shrunk significantly. "Immigrants have built that country", she said. Trump did not substantiate his claim that members of the MS-13 gang, in particular, are among them. The day before, Mr. Trump said he wanted the military to treat any rocks thrown at them like a "rifle", and act accordingly. One migrant died; it's not clear how it happened.
If they repeat the performance made on the Guatemala-Mexico border, one group of soldiers from Fort Carson, Colorado stands ready to disrupt their plans.
The caravan otherwise has been overwhelmingly peaceful, receiving applause and donated food from residents of the towns they pass. Trump was criticized by lawmakers in both parties earlier this year after his administration separated about 3,000 children from caregivers after they crossed the Mexican border. But it did not specify how it had arrived at that number. "And so we are making that our soldiers, our Marines are going to be fully trained in how to do that interaction", Gen. Terrence O'Shaughnessy said.
"Trump was frustrated in his effort to build a physical wall on the border, now he's trying to build a human wall by using the U.S. military".
That's because asylum-seekers, along with unaccompanied children from countries other than Mexico and Canada, have special protections enshrined in law, based on the principle that vulnerable individuals should have a chance to have their claims heard before they are shipped back to potential danger.
The administration has been discussing various options to address the caravans for days and it was possible that things could change before Trump's 4:15 p.m. remarks "on the illegal immigration crisis" before he departs the White House for a campaign rally in Missouri.
"Asylum is not a program for people living in poverty", Trump said.
THE FACTS: He's largely right.
About 20 percent of asylum applications were granted in 2017, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Claims have spiked in recent years, and there is now a backlog of more than 800,000 cases pending in immigration court.
TRUMP: "We're not doing releases". The migrants had already made a grueling 65-kilometer (40-mile) trek from Juchitan, Oaxaca, on Thursday, after they failed to get the bus transportation they had hoped for. But many migrants are unaware of that guidance, and official border crossings have grown increasingly clogged. That number is basically unchanged from 2009. If so, they are granted future hearings in immigration courts and either held in detention or released into the U.S.