Trump threatens to shoot stone-throwing migrants

Airman 1st Class Trevor Pearce a loadmaster with the 3rd Airlift Squadron briefs passengers aboard a C-17 Globemaster III at Fort Knox Ky. in support of Operation Faithful Patriot on Oct. 30 2018. The C-17 aircrew provided strategic airlift to Headqu

Trump has ramped up his tough stance on illegal immigration in recent days, specially targeting a Central American caravan of migrants making its way through Mexico to the US' southern border. "It would be an unlawful order", he wrote, citing the Law of Land Warfare.

At a meeting hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Nielsen was asked repeatedly about how her immigration enforcement agencies would carry out the potentially unconstitutional plans Trump outlined without detail, including a suggestion that soldiers would fire at people throwing rocks near the US-Mexico border. "Within that flow and included are about 17,000 criminals previous year along with hardened smugglers and people from over 100 different countries around the world".

"We have the authority given to us by (Defense) Secretary (Jim) Mattis", says Air Force Gen. Terrence O'Shaughnessy, who heads the U.S. Northern Command, which oversees all the active duty forces being deployed. Last year, US immigration courts handled 120,000 asylum requests, a fourfold increase since 2013.

Greg Chen of the American Immigration Lawyers Association said Trump was "trying to scare the American public into thinking these are thousands of risky thugs".

The lawsuit (pdf) states, "Trump's professed and enacted policy towards thousands of caravanners seeking asylum in the United States is shockingly unconstitutional".

He has also suggested that those claims should be rejected even before asylum seekers appear before a judge and begin court proceedings and that the simple fact of crossing the border illegally could also be a factor in rejecting an asylum claim.

Up to 90 percent of those at the border who claim fear of returning to their home country pass the initial "credible fear" screening. "Asylum is a very special protection".

That question remains to be settled in a case now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Mr Trump reiterated that he wanted to set up "tent cities" to hold people coming to the USA, including those seeking asylum. Generally, only about 20 percent of applicants are approved.

But the government has been flummoxed by what Kevin McAleenan, commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, calls the "asylum gap": the inability to stop people from making false claims for asylum and living legally in the USA for years while their cases proceed.

The U.S. fielded more than 330,000 asylum claims in 2017, almost double the number two years earlier and surpassing Germany as highest in the world.

There are now four caravans.

Similar caravans have gathered regularly over the years and have generally dwindled by the time they reach the southern border.

The nonpartisan Pew Research Center estimates there were about 11.3 million immigrants in the US illegally in 2016, the most recent data available. And you look at what's happening in Guatemala along with El Salvador and Honduras. And most have passed largely unnoticed. It involves the 2010 fatal shooting by a U.S. Border Patrol agent of a 16-year-old Mexican boy who the agent says was throwing rocks from the other side of the border. He also has said he plans an executive order to unilaterally end the constitutionally protected right of citizenship for children born to non-U.S. citizens. He noted at one point, "Women want security".

The leading migrant caravan trying to make its way to the United States border is admitting defeat after asking the Mexican government to provide dozens of buses to speed up the group's journey northward.

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