President Donald Trump on Thursday warned migrants traveling with the caravan approaching the southern U.S. border that they could be shot by the military if they throw rocks at the troops.

“They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back,” Trump told reporters. “I told them to consider it a rifle. When they throw rocks like what they did to the Mexican military and police I say consider it a rifle.”

The president also claimed many of the troops were “badly hurt” by immigrants who were tossing rocks. Trump added any stone would be viewed as a weapon like a gun because “there’s not much difference when you get hit in the face with a rock.”

Trump has already sent more than 5,000 troops to the border, and said he wishes to send up to 15,000 if necessary. On Wednesday, the Defense Department announced it would send around 7,000 troops to the border. Many Democrats have blasted Trump and his administration for its hard-line stances on immigration, especially just days before the midterm elections.


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Several reports this week said there were clashes between the caravan migrants and authorities near the border between Mexico and Guatemala. Some Guatemalan officers were reportedly injured.

Trump’s latest actions to curb immigration are among multiple efforts he has undertaken in recent months. He accused some immigrants of taking advantage of the process to request asylum by creating false claims about being persecuted. On Tuesday, he said in an interview with Axios on HBO that he wished to end, via executive order, birthright citizenship for American-born children of illegal immigrants and other non-U.S. citizens. Many legal experts have said this move would be unconstitutional.

Trump also promised to set up “tent cities” for asylum seekers until they can make their case in court.

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