The U.S. government does not plan “right now to shoot at people” traveling in a migrant caravan making its way north from Central America, according to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
In an interview at the U.S.-Mexico border with Fox News’ Martha MacCallum on Thursday, Nielsen explained that border agents don’t intend to use firearms against the migrants.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) October 25, 2018
However, President Donald Trump’s DHS Secretary warned that border agents “do have the ability, of course, to defend themselves.”
Trump tweeted a message to the caravan earlier Thursday, telling the migrants to “go back” to their countries and “apply for citizenship like millions of others are doing!”
To those in the Caravan, turnaround, we are not letting people into the United States illegally. Go back to your Country and if you want, apply for citizenship like millions of others are doing!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 25, 2018
The Washington Post’s Mike Madden noted that asylum applications can’t be made from outside the United States. It would be legal however for the migrants to claim asylum at a port of entry along the U.S. border.
Trump is reportedly considering banning asylum claims to prevent the migrants from crossing the southern border.
Defense Secretary James Mattis is expected to approve sending American troops to the border, even though the caravan is “still more than 1,000 miles from U.S. soil,” per the Associated Press.