White House Authorizes Troops To 'Use Force' Ahead of Migrant Caravan Arrival
Troops will carry out law enforcement responsibilities and use force in certain situations
Donald Trump's chief of staff, John Kelly, has signed a "Cabinet order" that gives special permission to thousands of U.S. troops deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border to use force if necessary ahead of the migrant caravan arrival.
The troops will carry out law enforcement responsibilities and use force in certain situations to deal with 10,000 Central American migrants arriving at US border.
According to the memo:
"Department of Defense military personnel" can "perform those military protective activities that the Secretary of Defense determines are reasonably necessary" to protect U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel, which includes “a show or use of force (including lethal force, where necessary), crowd control, temporary detention. And cursory search," the Military Times reports.
Nearly 5,800 active-duty troops along with 2,100 National Guards are now positioned at multiple regions of the southern border.
According to various legal experts, there are potential issues with the decision as it may conflict with a law that was passed in 1898 on how the military can implement duties in domestic situations.
The Posse Comitatus Act allows troops the right to defend themselves and is intended to ensure federal troops did not have the power to act as law enforcement in states.
Earlier this month, Neon Nettle reported that migrants had filed a class-action lawsuit against President Trump, the Department of Homeland Security, and others, claiming that their Fifth Amendment rights are being violated.
According to the WE: The law would be violated if troops either "perform tasks assigned to an organ of civil government" or "perform tasks assigned to them solely for purposes of civilian government," according to the Congressional Research Service.
However, the congressional research office added that a president could "use military force to suppress insurrection or to enforce federal authority."
Kelly, the White House chief of staff and former homeland security secretary, wrote in the order that the move was necessary because members of the group “may prompt incidents of violence and disorder," which could threaten the lives of border agents and officers.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Following reports this month that members of the caravan were forcibly pushing their way past and throwing objects at Mexican authorities guarding entry points against Guatemala, Trump said any rock and stone throwing would be treated as a firearms incident.
"Anybody throwing stones, rocks — like they did to Mexico and the Mexican military, Mexican police, where they badly hurt police and soldiers of Mexico — we will consider that a firearm because there's not much difference," Trump told reporters. "Because there's not much difference when you get hit in the face with a rock."
He later said he was not advocating the military use firearms to respond to people throwing rocks.
"But if our soldiers or Border Patrol or ICE are gonna be hit in the face with rocks, we're gonna arrest those people. That doesn't mean shoot them. But we're going to arrest those people quickly and for a long period," Trump said to reporters during a press conference.