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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

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations before leaving office

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump plans to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: This is a continuation of the president's controversial December spree that saw full pardons granted to more than two dozen people — including former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, longtime associate Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

  • The pardons set to be issued before Trump exits the White House will be a mix of criminal justice ones and pardons for people connected to the president, the sources said.
  • CNN first reported this news.

Go deeper: Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.