As the controversial migrant caravan made its way north toward the United States, President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, reportedly signed an order allowing troops to use force in certain situations.
IJR previously reported on the thousands of troops that Trump deployed to the border as the estimated size of the caravan increased. According to the Military Times, the southern border currently has nearly 6,000 active duty troops and 2,100 National Guard forces.
USNORTHCOM is currently providing support to @DHSgov & @CBP through Operation #FaithfulPatriot to include planning, engineering, transportation, logistics & medical support, which will enhance CBP's ability to impede/deny illegal crossings & contribute to the border security msn. pic.twitter.com/othmtnnj1b
— NORAD & USNORTHCOM (@Norad_Northcom) November 1, 2018
The order, signed on Tuesday, gave the Defense Department the power to engage in law enforcement tactics and use force to protect themselves in addition to U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents. That included “a show or use of force (including lethal force, where necessary), crowd control, temporary detention. and cursory search.”
The order could, however, lead troops to violate the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits the federal government from using the Air Force and Army as functional replacements for law enforcement.
As the Times noted, the Congressional Research Service reported that case law considered violations occurring “(a) when the Armed Forces perform tasks assigned to an organ of civil government, or (b) when the Armed Forces perform tasks assigned to them solely for purposes of civilian government.”
The order came as both the president and reportedly some Mexican protesters called the caravan an “invasion.”
Watch the video below:
Mexican protestor today in Tijuana on the caravan: "Donald Trump was right, this is an invasion! What Donald Trump said was correct: this is an invasion!"
Crowd chants: "Get out Hondurans, we do not want you here. Get out Hondurans, we do not want you here." pic.twitter.com/IwytIHZnsM
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) November 19, 2018
Earlier this week, Trump said that the U.S. was “ill-prepared for this invasion” and told migrants to “go home!”
The Mayor of Tijuana, Mexico, just stated that “the City is ill-prepared to handle this many migrants, the backlog could last 6 months.” Likewise, the U.S. is ill-prepared for this invasion, and will not stand for it. They are causing crime and big problems in Mexico. Go home!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 18, 2018
“They are causing crime and big problems in Mexico,” he said of the migrants.