Exclusive: Trump expected to give troops authority to protect border personnel

President Donald Trump is expected to grant new authority to US troops on the Southwest border with Mexico t...

Posted: Nov 21, 2018 5:05 AM
Updated: Nov 21, 2018 5:05 AM

President Donald Trump is expected to grant new authority to US troops on the Southwest border with Mexico to protect Customs and Border Protection personnel from migrants if they engage in violence, according to two defense officials and another US official directly familiar with the plans. An additional administration official tells CNN that the authority will also authorize protection of federal property.

Currently troops do not have any authorities that would allow them to intervene if CBP personnel came under attack unless they need to act in their own self-defense.

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There are 5,800 to 5,900 troops assigned to the border mission.

The move could be announced as soon as Monday evening, officials said. The mission will be characterized solely as "protection of CBP" personnel, according to the administration official.

This comes as Department of Homeland Security officials said Monday that they had started to get information from "multiple sources including individuals in the Mexican government" of potential waves or groups of individuals who were discussing an incursion into legal ports of entry in California by attempting to pass through vehicle lanes.

Any potential use of force by US troops to protect CBP personnel must be "proportional," the official said.

It is expected the Pentagon and US Northern Command will amend the current document detailing the rules governing the "use of force" on the border mission.

All three officials are adamant that the change is not about troops firing weapons at migrants crossing the border. Instead the new rules will be aimed at providing the basic authorities to allow for protective measures. Previously troops did not have any authorities that would allow them to intervene if CBP personnel came under attack.

The Pentagon has been working for the last several days on options for how troops can protect CBP.

The defense officials are also emphasizing that National Guard forces activated by governors, as well as state and local civilian law enforcement authorities in a given area, should be relied upon as much as possible.

DHS spokesperson Katie Waldman told CNN, "As Secretary Nielsen has said, we will not allow our frontline personnel to be in harm's way. We will do everything we can to protect those who defend our nation's sovereignty and secure our border. We appreciate the Department of Defense stepping in to assist the Department of Homeland Security as needed."

The White House did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment.

Last week while visiting troops along the Texas border, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said CBP is doing "all the work, but we're standing behind them as a confidence builder," referring to the request from the Department of Homeland Security to provide support.

More than 2,000 Central American migrants arrived in the border city of Tijuana in recent days, and about 3,000 more migrants are estimated to be in Mexicali, Mexico, another border city about 100 miles away, a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees spokeswoman told CNN.

As CNN has previously reported, the Department of Homeland Security originally asked the Pentagon to provide protection for CBP but that request was turned down by Mattis because it was deemed by the Pentagon to be asking troops to perform law enforcement duties that needed to be directly approved by President Trump. At the time of the original request, the Defense Department said that if Homeland Security officials still wanted troops to perform a protection role, they should ask the White House to formally grant the Pentagon the authorities to perform those additional functions.

At the outset the troops were assigned to provide assistance to Customs and Border Protection including engineering support with building temporary barriers, barricades and fencing, providing aviation support to move US Customs and Border Protection personnel, providing medical teams to triage, treat and prepare for commercial transport of patients and constructing temporary housing and personal protective equipment for CBP personnel.

Last week CNN reported that the US troops on the Texas border with Mexico were close to finishing their assigned task of reinforcing border crossing points, largely with concertina wire.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 501097

Reported Deaths: 9990
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34338538
DeSoto32117403
Hinds31939628
Jackson24494382
Rankin21995390
Lee15543235
Madison14581280
Jones13851242
Forrest13453251
Lauderdale11991317
Lowndes11050188
Lamar10521135
Pearl River9533237
Lafayette8550140
Hancock7732127
Washington7438158
Oktibbeha7146131
Monroe6777177
Warren6694176
Pontotoc6664102
Neshoba6637206
Panola6531131
Marshall6467134
Bolivar6317148
Union602894
Pike5820152
Alcorn5669101
Lincoln5436135
George496879
Scott472898
Tippah469281
Prentiss467281
Leflore4658144
Itawamba4636105
Tate4588111
Adams4587119
Copiah448592
Simpson4446116
Yazoo444187
Wayne439772
Covington428894
Sunflower4239105
Marion4226108
Coahoma4160105
Leake408288
Newton381779
Grenada3707108
Stone360364
Tishomingo359792
Attala331589
Jasper329965
Winston314291
Clay308076
Chickasaw300367
Clarke292494
Calhoun279446
Holmes267987
Smith264050
Yalobusha234047
Tallahatchie228051
Greene219348
Walthall218763
Lawrence212940
Perry205556
Amite205156
Webster202946
Noxubee186740
Montgomery179656
Jefferson Davis171743
Carroll169138
Tunica159839
Benton148838
Kemper141941
Choctaw133426
Claiborne132737
Humphreys129538
Franklin120228
Quitman106428
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson94534
Sharkey64120
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 818652

Reported Deaths: 15378
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1147091924
Mobile724971336
Madison52231697
Shelby37575349
Baldwin37224549
Tuscaloosa35073612
Montgomery34092739
Lee23519246
Calhoun22221482
Morgan20910378
Etowah19816498
Marshall18338303
Houston17360412
St. Clair16034339
Cullman15406293
Limestone15328199
Elmore15186286
Lauderdale14270295
Talladega13827281
DeKalb12637261
Walker11180370
Blount10179176
Autauga9967148
Jackson9860183
Coffee9205191
Dale8884185
Colbert8840201
Tallapoosa7079198
Escambia6766132
Covington6706183
Chilton6633161
Russell635259
Franklin5959105
Chambers5607142
Marion4995126
Dallas4949200
Pike4791105
Clarke475484
Geneva4568127
Winston4507103
Lawrence4309117
Bibb424686
Barbour357576
Marengo337890
Monroe331463
Randolph329864
Butler325896
Pickens315682
Henry311966
Hale311188
Cherokee302360
Fayette292379
Washington251351
Cleburne247460
Crenshaw244875
Clay243068
Macon234163
Lamar223347
Conecuh185953
Coosa180040
Lowndes174764
Wilcox168739
Bullock151644
Perry138340
Sumter132938
Greene126644
Choctaw88227
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Clear cool and dry to begin your weekend, but both afternoons should be a little bit above what we expect for this time of year temperature wise. Rain chances begin to return late Sunday night, with at least two chances for storms over the next week, summer could be strong.
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