Screenshot: Fox News (YouTube)

To give you a sense of just how fucked up the United States of America is at the moment, allow me to direct your attention to (where else?) Fox News.

Seated along the U.S.-Mexico boarder in Arizona on Thursday, The Story host Martha MacCallum asked Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen about the possibility that border patrol agents might open fire on members of the Central American caravan of asylum seekers currently headed toward the United States.

Here’s the full exchange:

MacCallum: Is there any scenario under which, if people forced their way across the border they could be shot at?”

Nielsen: We do not have any intention right now to shoot at people, they will be apprehended however. But I also take my officer and agent—their own personal safety extraordinarily seriously. They do have the ability of course to defend themselves.

MacCallum: So if shot at, they would shoot back?

Nielsen: No. I think we’d have to work through that. But I want to make it very clear, we will absolutely not tolerate violence against border patrol in this situation. These are dedicated men and women risking their lives every day. I will not tolerate Mexicans, or anybody else, acting in a violent way towards our men and women on the border.

Let’s unpack this, shall we? Here we have a top Trump official being asked multiple times whether or not her agents will shoot at asylum seekers trying to enter the United States.

Nielsen’s disappointingly pro-forma answer aside (how about just “no, we’re not going to kill people,” hmm?), it’s insane that we’ve gotten to the point where we’re seriously asking top government officials if and when they’ll be ready to abruptly end the lives of people whose crime is simply having walked hundreds of miles to flee their own country’s intolerable violence.

The president, meanwhile, has continued his transparently election-minded attempt to look especially tough on immigrants. There were multiple reports yesterday that the administration would be ordering approximately 800 troops to the southern border in preparation for the caravan’s arrival, even though their work will be focused on providing “fencing, wall materials, and other technical support.” And last night, the New York Times reported that Trump is considering taking executive action to close the border to migrants altogether.