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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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Go deeper

Reports: CIA finds "Havana Syndrome" unlikely caused by foreign campaign

CIA Director William Burns testifies during a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill last April. Photo: Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images

A preliminary CIA report rules out a foreign global campaign as the cause of American and Canadian diplomats affected by a mysterious illness known as "Havana syndrome," per multiple reports.

Why it matters: Some lawmakers had suggested the sometimes debilitating illness was due to directed energy attacks. But CIA officials told the New York Times that most of the 1,000 cases reported to the government could be "explained by environmental causes, undiagnosed medical conditions or stress." This finding has angered some victims, per the NYT.

Jan. 6 panel subpoenas 2 far-right "America First" activists

The House panel investigating the Capitol riot, from left; Reps. Bennie Thompson, Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger and Jamie Raskin on Capitol Hill in December. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the Capitol riot issued subpoenas Wednesday for far-right leaders Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey, who allegedly encouraged followers to go to D.C. and challenge the 2020 election results.

Why it matters: The action underscores the panel's increasing focus on rallies held ahead of the Capitol attack and how extremists were drawn to former President Trump's baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, per the New York Times.

Democrats fail to change Senate rules to pass voting rights bill

Senate Majority Leader during a news conference in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democrats failed Wednesday night to change Senate filibuster rules to pass the voting rights bill, with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) voting with Republicans.

The big picture: The failed effort came after Senate Republicans blocked the voting rights measure from coming to a final vote earlier Wednesday.