White House Approves Use of Lethal Force for Border Troops: Report

The White House late Tuesday authorized U.S. military troops deployed at the Mexican border to use lethal force and conduct law-enforcement operations, Military Times reports. The memo, signed by Chief of Staff John Kelly, gives Department of Defense personnel the freedom to conduct “a show or use of force (including lethal force, where necessary), crowd control, temporary detention, and cursory search” in order to protect border agents from the migrant families crossing the border to seek a better life. In the “Cabinet memo,” Kelly justified the shift by writing that “credible evidence and intelligence” had suggested the migrants “may prompt incidents of violence and disorder.” Military Times notes these orders could violate 1898’s Posse Comitatus Act, which forbids the U.S. armed services from performing “tasks assigned to an organ of civil government” or “tasks assigned to them solely for purposes of civilian government,” according to a review by the Congressional Research Service. The review notes the president does have the authority, however, “to use military force to suppress insurrection or to enforce federal authority.”