So far, the nearly 5,900 soldiers deployed on the border with Mexico could only use force against immigrants in self-defense. The president of the United States assured that among the Central Americans of the migrant caravans there are "criminals"
US President Donald Trump has authorized the military deployed on the border with Mexico to use force "if necessary" to protect the border patrol, the White House said Wednesday , but the Pentagon insisted that the Soldiers will not carry firearms.
" The president's authorization ensures that the Department of Defense can act to protect those who protect us ," a White House spokesman, Hogan Gidley, told Efe.
So far, the nearly 5,900 military deployed on the border with Mexico could only use force against immigrants in self-defense , but Trump's authorization opens the door for them to use it "if necessary" to "protect" agents from the Office of Customs and Border Protection ( CBP ).
"If force were required to protect CBP, they are now authorized to use it ," a White House source, who requested anonymity, told Efe.
The White House chief of staff, John Kelly, sent a letter Tuesday to Defense Secretary James Mattis, in which he communicated the authorization of the president.
However, Mattis stressed that so far CBP has not made "any request for the use of lethal force" to protect its agents, and clarified that the military will not carry "firearms."
" They're not even carrying guns, so relax, do not worry about it, okay? " Mattis told reporters at a press conference.
Trump insisted today in a tweet, without providing evidence, that among the Central American immigrants of the caravans that have gone in recent weeks to the US there are "criminals".
The deployment at the border of the thousands of soldiers has served his Government to build muscle before the arrival of caravans , but in reality the role of soldiers is limited by law, so they have dedicated themselves to strengthening the border fence that separates USA and Mexico and to help CBP in the transportation of supplies.
Mattis argued that Trump's order does not violate the 1878 law known as " Posse Comitatus, " which prohibits the use of soldiers for security and public order tasks at the national level.
"There is no violation of the law, because we are not going to arrest anyone, " he said.
The Pentagon chief insinuated that the only thing the military could do would be "to prevent someone (an immigrant) from hitting someone (from CBP) and then handing it over to others" for their arrest, but without using firearms.
The CBS chain obtained a copy of the order signed by Kelly, which states that the military "may perform the tasks of protection that the Secretary of Defense considers" appropriate, including "the use of force (including lethal force if necessary).") crowd control, temporary detention and "registration" of people.