Donald Trump unveiled his latest hellish immigration policy idea on Tuesday, saying that until he gets his wall, he plans to guard the US-Mexico border with the military.
“I spoke with General Mattis. We’re going to do some things militarily, until we can have a wall and proper security, we’re going to be guarding our border with the military. That’s a big step,” Trump told reporters. “We cannot have people flowing into our country illegally, disappearing and, by the way, never showing up for court.”
Trump was speaking at a lunch with Baltic leaders at the White House, where the idea of deploying the military was just one of many topics he spouted off about. The president also said he had “great respect” for authoritarian Chinese President Xi Jinping, noting, “two of the most incredible days of my life were spent in China.” He also claimed that “probably nobody’s been tougher on Russia than Donald Trump.”
According to University of Texas law professor Steve Vladeck, it’s not exactly clear whether or not Trump could utilize the military in this way without congressional authorization:
But semantics aside, Trump’s idea of a militarized border idea feeds into the raging xenophobic fire of his recent statements, as he’s continued tweeting about the “big flows of people” coming into the country to “take advantage of DACA.” (While there is a “caravan” of hundreds of immigrants currently fleeing Central America, these people are not eligible for DACA, the program Trump ended.) Trump made his name on anti-immigrant rhetoric; now he’s preparing to put the military he commands where his mouth is.