Trump targets citizenship, stokes pre-election migrant fears

Published 7:39 pm Tuesday, October 30, 2018

WASHINGTON — Thousands of U.S. troops to stop an “invasion” of migrants. Tent cities for asylum seekers. An end for the Constitution’s guarantee of birthright citizenship.

With his eyes squarely on next Tuesday’s elections, President Donald Trump is rushing out hardline immigration declarations, promises and actions as he tries to mobilize supporters to retain Republican control of Congress. His own campaign in 2016 concentrated on border fears, and that’s his final-week focus in the midterm fight.

“This has nothing to do with elections,” the president insisted. But his timing is striking.

Trump says he will send more than 5,000 military troops to the Mexican border to help defend against caravans of Central American migrants who are on foot hundreds of miles away. Tent cities would not resolve the massive U.S. backlog of asylum seekers. And most legal scholars say it would take a new constitutional amendment to alter the current one granting citizenship to anyone born in America.

Still, Trump plunges ahead with daily alarms and proclamations about immigration in tweets, interviews and policy announcements in the days leading up to elections that Democrats hope will give them at least partial control of Congress.