Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump's signature issue is back in the spotlight less than three weeks before Election Day, with surging arrests at the border and a high-profile caravan on the way from Honduras.

Why it matters: The Trump administration's severe measures to deter border crossings don't appear to be working.

Roughly 4,000 Honduran migrants are now in Guatemala, heading north, NBC News reports.

  • "Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Mexico to meet with his counterparts on Friday, where plans to stop the caravan will be a 'prominent' topic of discussion," they report.
  • Trump has personally threatened aid to Honduras if they don't stop the caravan, which is no longer within its borders.

Between the lines: "Border Patrol agents arrested 16,658 family members in September, the highest one-month total on record and an 80 percent increase from July," the Washington Post reports.

  • If accurate, that's more than a 50% jump from last year, which was already an outlier.
  • "In September, U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended more than 41,400 undocumented immigrants, up from 37,544 in August," NBC News reports.

The big picture: Even if Trump reinstated a form of family separation in an attempt to deter migrants, they would overwhelm Health and Human Services. The agency already struggles to house and care for more than 13,000 migrant children.

P.S. Nancy Pelosi yesterday: “It happens to be like a manhood issue for the president, building a wall, and I’m not interested in that..."

  • “We can’t allow him to say we’re not interested in protecting the border... That isn’t the only way to protect the border. In fact, it’s probably the worst way to protect the border.”

The bottom line: After two very abnormal years in politics, the stakes from November look increasingly familiar ... taxes, health care and immigration.

Go deeper: Trump's kids crisis gets worse

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A satellite image of Hurricane Zeta. Photo: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

Hurricane Zeta is "battering southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi with life-threatening storm surge, high winds, and heavy rain," per the National Hurricane Center.

What's happening: The hurricane was producing maximum sustained winds of nearly 110 mph and stronger gusts after making landfall on the southeastern coast of Louisiana as a Category 2 storm earlier Wednesday.

Supreme Court rejects GOP push to cut absentee ballot deadline in N.C.

Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a request by Republicans to shorten North Carolina's deadline for mail-in ballots from nine to three days.

The big picture: This is the latest of a series of decisions over mail-in ballot deadlines in various states.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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