Marines look on during attempt to fortify the border structure that separates Tijuana, Mexico, behind, and Hillcrest, near the San Ysidro Port of Entry, Friday, Nov. 9, 2018, in North park. On Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018 the White House authorized military members to take part in law enforcement officials roles, such as the use of lethal force against illegal immigrants. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
The White House is authorizing military personnel at the southern border to take part in authorities roles and apply lethal force against illegal immigrants if required.
The cabinet order signed by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly on Tuesday adds crowd control and detention for the duties of troops deployed towards the border, who may have been recently tasked with the safety of Border Patrol and customs agents, in addition to fortifying the border. By Wednesday there are about 5,900 active duty service members with the border along with a couple of,100 National Guard troops.
Kelly says the move is set in response to intelligence indicating migrants within the border in Tijuana may prompt incidents of violence and disorder.
Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, left, walks at the side of a section within the border wall fortified with razor wire separating Tijuana, Mexico, and San diego, ca, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018, in Hillcrest. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Reports surfaced on Wednesday of the possible planned stampede of migrants across the San Ysidro, Calif. port of entry.
According to Angels without Borders, an advocacy group for illegal immigrants, the migrants could try to rush through port of entry in huge numbers. Reports say the migrants would then blame U.S. forces to the resulting chaos and any related injuries.
But Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said during her visit to the border Tuesday, no-one can get in to the U.S. illegally.
“Some critics and media have stated that DHS is overreacting to the presence of several hundred migrants,” Secretary Nielsen said. “The reality is that almost all of the caravan that many of us see comprises single men or teenage males. On top of that we have identified over 500 criminals that include known gang members contained in the flow of your caravan.”
Mexican authorities have arrested at least 34 migrants on drugs and violence related charges.