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Troops approved to use force at the border, but Mattis says the mission has not changed

Missy Ryan Reports covering the Pentagon, Military Issues and National Security Paul Sonne National Security Reports Focusing on US Military…

Trump Administration Has gave US troops along the southern border permission to use violence in the protection of federal border patrol troops, but no decision has been made to change the military mission there, “said Defense Minister Jim Mattis on Wednesday.

Mattis spoke to reporters on the Pentagon, saying he reviewed an order that the White House issued late Tuesday for officials deployed in support of customs and border guards in Texas, Arizona and California.

According to the order, signed by the White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, military personnel may use “a show or use of force (including mortal power, if necessary), crowd control, temporary detention and short-term search” to protect CBP .

It is not an unreasonable concern from the president that we may need to back up the border police, “said Mattis, referring to the shackles between Mexican authorities and immigrants on the country’s border with Central America earlier in the fall.

But he said he did not have changed the order of the approximately 5,800 active troops occupied across the southern border, most of whom were not armed and have performed functions as stringed warriors, building barriers and transporting border patrols.

Mattis has repeatedly defended President Trump’s decision to use active military staff to cure the southern border, a move that Democrats identified as a political stunt before the mid-term elections earlier this month. The president is still focused on the carriages of mostly American immigrants approaching the southern border of Mexico hoping to seek asylum in the United States. have noticed them a threat to that night

Critics have raised questions about the need to use active troops for an assignment that already involves border police officers and personnel protection personnel, referring to the deployment being able to violate the Posse Comitatus Act, a law restricting military operations in the United States .

Hogan Gidley, Deputy Deputy Secretary of State, said the new order “ensures that the Department of Defense can come in to protect those who protect us.”

“The courageous men and women at customs [and] Border Protection willingly put themselves in extremely dangerous situations every day to protect the Americans and their families,” Gidley said in a statement.

Mattis said the Department of Home Security, which oversees customs and border protection activities, had not requested that troops use violence to protect its staff and that he would judge any such request if it were made. Most active troops along the border do not carry firearms, Mattis said. If they were tasked with protecting CBP, they would probably use shields and batons, he said.

Mattis and other Pentagon officials have tried to show the role of US troops as secondary to CBP, and the minimized likelihood of military personnel would have to use violence in the way they do when they are deployed abroad.

“We do not do law enforcement. We have no arresting authority,” said Mattis. He said troops could take care of individuals for a short time if someone attacked a CBP officer and troops were asked to respond. “These are minutes not even hours, “he said.

Mattis dismisses concerns about potential legal violations.” Relax. Do not worry about it, okay? “However, some civil liberties and human rights groups criticized the recent features of the administration.” This legally dubious “order of orders” creates confusion, undermines morality and can very well lead to violence, “said Michael Breen, President of Human Rights, first in a statement .

Mattis said it was not yet clear whether the border mission would be extended beyond its current end date on December 15 or if the new White House scheme would require sending additional troops to the border. Earlier this week, the Army who led the border signaled the mission’s interest in starting to fall down.

Mattis on Wednesday also said he expected the active deployment to cost more than $ 72 million estimate the Pentagon released the day before. It is in addition to the $ 103 million that the Pentagon spent to deploy the National Guard to the border from April 10th to September 30th and the $ 308million Pentagon is expected to spend on the October-September end-of-September deployment. 19659020] All in all, the cost of both active and national security centers amounts to a total of more than $ 483 million at the end of this fiscal year at the end of September 2019.

Nick Miroff in Washington and Josh Dawsey in West Palm Beach, Fla., Contributed to this report.

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