Trump threatens to cut off aid to Honduras over immigrant 'caravan'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Republicans move to block Yemen war-powers votes for rest of Congress Trump says he's considering 10 to 12 contenders for chief of staff Michael Flynn asks judge to spare him from jail time MORE on Tuesday threatened to cut off aid to Honduras if its government does not stop a migrant "caravan" from heading north toward the U.S. border.

"The United States has strongly informed the President of Honduras that if the large Caravan of people heading to the U.S. is not stopped and brought back to Honduras, no more money or aid will be given to Honduras, effective immediately!" the president tweeted.

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The president was responding to reports that a group of 1,600 or more Hondurans hoping to reach the U.S. crossed the border into Guatemala on Monday. Members of the caravan have said they are fleeing poverty and violence in their home country in search of a better life.

The U.S. gave $175 million in aid to Honduras in fiscal 2017, according to the United States Agency for International Development.  

Trump has long sought to crack down on illegal immigration, arguing that migrants bring crime and drugs into the country. He has highlighted the issue in the run-up to the November midterm elections in an effort to fire up his conservative base. 

The Washington Post recently reported the Trump administration is considering a policy that could again separate parents from their children as a way to stem the high numbers of families crossing illegally into the U.S.

"We’re going to do whatever we can do to get it slowed down," Trump told reporters on Saturday. "If they feel there will be separation, they don’t come."

The administration's decision to enforce a "zero tolerance" policy on illegal immigration resulted in thousands of family separations at the southern border over the summer, triggering a massive political and humanitarian crisis for the president. 

Trump also expressed alarm about a similar "caravan" of Central Americans that traveled toward the U.S. in the spring. The vast majority of migrants did not cross the border, but a handful of asylum-seekers did enter the country.

Updated at 9:44 a.m.