White House: Troops May Use Lethal Force to Protect Border Agents

Late Tuesday evening, the White House signed a memo enabling troops to take on law enforcement roles as well as use lethal force when needed while deployed at the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the Military Times.

Chief of Staff John Kelly signed a cabinet order which allows the military to “perform those military protective activities that the Secretary of Defense determines are reasonably necessary” to protect border agents, including “a show or use of force (including lethal force, where necessary), crowd control, temporary detention. and cursory search.”

Kelly stated in the order that the additional directives were necessary because “credible evidence and intelligence” that members of the migrant caravan currently in Tijuana “may prompt incidents of violence and disorder” which could threaten border officials.

On Monday, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol did hear of reports of caravan members attempting to “rush” the port of entry, and released the following statement:

In the early morning hours, CBP officials received reports of groups of persons from the caravan gathering in the city of Tijuana for a possible attempt or attempts to rush illegally through the port of entry instead of presenting themselves as required to a CBP officer. CBP officials suspended operations to safely place impediments at the port of entry that would restrict access to a large group attempting to run through the border crossing. After the CBP response at San Ysidro, no activity materialized at the border crossing.

Over the weekend, as the Washington Post reported, “work crews decked out the border fence at the southern end of San Diego’s Imperial Beach with billowing, 18-foot thickets of concertina wire.”

Over the past few weeks, the U.S. military, along with construction crews, installed 12.3 miles of concertina wire along the border.

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