Trump tried to create ‘hysteria’ over migrant caravans, says progressive lawmaker

A progressive lawmaker from Arizona said President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial Bombshell Afghanistan report bolsters calls for end to 'forever wars' Lawmakers dismiss Chinese retaliatory threat to US tech MORE tried to create “hysteria” over the migrant caravans in the midterm elections, but the issue failed to create traction among some of the communities across the U.S. southern border.

“Security and a comprehensive approach to immigration reform concerns people on the border,” Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) told Hill.TV co-hosts Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti on Thursday

“What doesn’t concern people [on] the border is the hysteria the president tried to create,” he added.

But Grijalva noted the caravan threaten failed to gain much traction in some districts even as Trump described the procession of Central American migrants as a "pending invasion."

“What we saw through the whole election where the president politicized it, made it seem like it was a pending invasion, play that card over and over through the election, I would suggest a race card,” he said. “And at the end of the day, didn’t have any traction on it, particularly in border communities like Arizona, Texas [and] New Mexico.”

Trump made immigration a central focus while campaigning ahead of the midterm elections.

As thousands of migrants started to make their way to the U.S. Southern border, Trump declared that the group posed a threat to the “safety of every single American.”

The president also claimed that the group was made of MS-13 gang members, while warning at one point that there were “unknown Middle Easterners” among them.

No evidence has emerged that MS-13 gang members or migrants from the Middle East were among members of the caravan.

Trump also ordered the deployment of troops to the border and last week said migrants who cross the border outside of designed points of entry would not be allowed to seek asylum.

The new rule has drawn legal action from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) among other civil rights groups, who argue that it violates both U.S. and international law. 

 — Tess Bonn