Trump closes 'parts' of border, authorizes lethal force
President Donald Trump said Thursday that he’s signed an order to close the U.S. border with Mexico, adding that he’s authorized troops to use lethal force against migrants who attempt to enter the U.S.
“If they have to,” Trump told reporters at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, claiming without evidence that at least 500 criminals are among migrants trying to enter the U.S. “So I’m not going to let the military be taken advantage of. I have no choice. Do I want that to happen? Absolutely not. But you’re dealing with rough people.”
He also said that he would welcome a partial shutdown of the government over “border security.”
Trump said he had signed the order two days ago and that “I’ve already shutdown parts of the border.” He warned that the entire border may be closed if conflict with migrants escalates.
“If we find that its uncontrollable,” he said, “if we find that it gets to a level where we are going to lose control or people are going to start getting hurt, we will close entry into the country for a period of time until we can get it under control.”
“The whole border,” he continued. “I mean the whole border. And Mexico will not be able to sell their cars into the United States where they make so many cars at great benefit to them, not at great benefit to us.”
The White House hasn’t released the order and Trump wasn’t clear about his directive. The White House didn’t immediately respond to questions about Trump’s comments.
Before the midterm elections in which Republicans lost control of the House, Trump ordered the military to reinforce the southern border, repeatedly warning voters about a so-called “caravan” of migrants making its way from Central America to the U.S. His critics called the deployment a political stunt.
Next week, Congress returns for its post-election “lame duck” session in which a top priority will be to authorize full fiscal 2019 spending plans for several agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Internal Revenue Service and the National Park Service. Temporary funding for the agencies expires Dec. 7. Congress already approved full-year spending for most of the U.S. government, meaning any shutdown would be limited.
Trump has repeatedly threatened to veto spending bills if Congress continues to refuse to fund the wall, and with Democrats poised to take over the House in January, the president could force the issue in the lame-duck session.