Yesterday we reported that president Trump had authorized troops stationed at the border to act in a law enforcement capacity to “perform those military protective activities that the Secretary of Defense determines are reasonably necessary” to protect border agents, including “a show or use of force (including lethal force, where necessary), crowd control, temporary detention. and cursory search.”
That wasn’t all: speaking to reporters at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, the president said on Thursday that he also signed an order to close the U.S. border with Mexico, adding that he’s authorized troops to use lethal force against migrants who attempt to enter the U.S.
“If they have to,” Trump told reporters at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, claiming that at least 500 criminals are among migrants trying to enter the U.S. “So I’m not going to let the military be taken advantage of. I have no choice. Do I want that to happen? Absolutely not. But you’re dealing with rough people.”
Trump also said that he would welcome a partial shutdown of the government over “border security.”
According to Bloomberg, Trump signed the order two days ago and that “I’ve already shutdown parts of the border” warning that the entire border may be closed if conflict with migrants escalates.
“If we find that its uncontrollable,” he said, “if we find that it gets to a level where we are going to lose control or people are going to start getting hurt, we will close entry into the country for a period of time until we can get it under control.”
“The whole border,” he clarified. “I mean the whole border. And Mexico will not be able to sell their cars into the United States where they make so many cars at great benefit to them, not at great benefit to us.”
Still, details were missing as the White House hasn’t released the order and Trump wasn’t clear about his directive.
Before the midterm elections Trump ordered the military to reinforce the southern border, repeatedly warning voters about a so-called “caravan” of migrants making its way from Central America to the U.S. His critics called the deployment a political stunt.
As Bloomberg reminds us, next week Congress returns for its post-election “lame duck” session in which a top priority will be to authorize full fiscal 2019 spending plans for several agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, the IRS and the National Park Service. Temporary funding for the agencies expires Dec. 7. Congress already approved full-year spending for most of the U.S. government, meaning any shutdown would be limited.
Trump has repeatedly threatened to veto spending bills if Congress continues to refuse to fund the wall, and with Democrats poised to take over the House in January, the president could force the issue in the lame-duck session.
In its analysis of the midterm election consequences, Goldman predicted that under a divided Congress, there will be a substantial risk of shutdown at the next spending deadline in 2019, though whether it happens will depend on the political environment at that point. The debt limit will be reinstated March 1, 2019 Congress will need to raise it by August. As a further reminder, the two most disruptive debt limit debates in recent memory, in 2011 and 2013, both occurred in a divided Congress.