The caravan of migrants heading to the U.S.-Mexico border has grown to more than 7,500 people, according to a Monday report by CNN.
Caravan organizer Dennis Omar Contreras told CNN the group is set to leave Mexico's southernmost city of Tapachula on its way north.
The caravan, which started in Honduras early last week, has created a political firestorm as President TrumpDonald TrumpHarris stumps for McAuliffe in Virginia On The Money — Sussing out what Sinema wants Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — The Facebook Oversight Board is not pleased MORE threatens to cut aid from the countries where the migrants are coming from, as well as those countries that did not stop it.
Trump Monday tweeted that Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras "were not able to do the job" of blocking the caravan, adding that his administration will begin the process of "cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid routinely given to them."
According to the United States Agency for International Development, Guatemala received $249 million in U.S. aid in 2017, while Honduras received $175 million and El Salvador received $115 million.
Rep. Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelLawmakers pay tribute to Colin Powell NYC snafu the latest flub from a broken elections agency Cynthia Nixon backs primary challenger to Rep. Carolyn Maloney MORE (N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Trump would need congressional authorization to cut aid previously appropriated by legislators.
"Fortunately, Congress — not the President — has the power of the purse, and my colleagues and I will not stand idly by as this Administration ignores congressional intent," Engel said in a statement.
“Beyond these potential egregious violations of laws and norms, the President’s approach to Central America will have precisely the opposite impact from what he intends," added Engel.
Trump had originally praised Mexican authorities, who deployed 500 federal police to ensure an orderly entry of migrants at the border bridge between Mexico and Guatemala. While the migrants who crossed over the bridge went to official shelters to continue their asylum process in Mexico, scores more crossed the border illegally on rafts and reunited on the Mexican side.
"Sadly, it looks like Mexico’s Police and Military are unable to stop the Caravan heading to the Southern Border of the United States. Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in," Trump tweeted Monday.
Mexican authorities have not engaged with migrants who did not turn themselves over to authorities and are only providing assistance to those in government shelters, according to a report by Reforma newspaper.
Caravan leaders told CNN they expect the trip from Mexico's Chiapas state to the northern border will take about one week.