President Donald Trump said on Thursday that US troops stationed at the southern border are authorized to use lethal force if they have to.
Earlier this week, the president authorized the military to use conventional rules of engagement when dealing with the migrants as opposed to the rules used by law enforcement at the border. Trump also threatened to shut down the US border with Mexico if he deems it necessary to stop immigration.
Just before the US midterms, Trump deployed thousands of US troops to assist border and customs officials handle a migrant caravan from Latin America that was making its way into the US.
The move was criticized by the president’s critics, some of whom called it a political stunt to energize his base on the run-up to the election.
However, the new directive may run into legal issues. For instance, US servicemen are not allowed to conduct missions within the US. In fact, officials at the Pentagon made it clear when the troops were deployed that their job would be to provide support to border enforcement agencies. The officials also said it was highly unlikely that the soldiers would get into any contact with migrants since they are stationed quite some distance from the border. Even if they did, they wouldn’t stop or arrest anyone.
President Trump has grown frustrated by the immigration issue for the two years he has been in office. His tough rhetoric on the matter is seen as an indicator of this frustration but there are other issues:
Trump had promised to build a wall along the southern border and even claimed at one point that Mexico will pay for it. This hasn’t happened. The president’s efforts to get funding for the wall in Congress also failed with most Democrats and even some Republicans opposing the idea. It’s not going to get any easier now that the Democrats have taken over the House.
Hence why it’s becoming increasingly possible the wall won’t ever get built.
The president also recently noted that he’s planning to end birthright citizenship through an executive order. The move was challenged by legal experts who called it unconstitutional. A recent measure by the president to refuse asylum requests to people caught crossing the border illegally was also temporarily suspended by a federal judge in San Francisco. All these things appear to be a brutal reminder that only a bipartisan immigration solution will get the nod from lawmakers in Washington.
However, one outrageous statement came this week when Trump said that he will close the border for both trade and people.
He said in a statement that the move will essentially make it impossible for Mexico to sell cars in the United States. Trump has accused Mexico of doing very little to stop migrants heading north to the US. The Department of Defense says that there are over 5,000 soldiers already at the border and this number is expected to increase after the first deployment.