Report: Border Agents’ ‘Leaders’ Told Them To Disobey Trump Direction On Migrants

US President Donald Trump shakes hands with a member of the US Customs and Border patrol during a roundtable on immigration and border security at the US Border Patrol Calexico Station in Calexico, California, Apri... US President Donald Trump shakes hands with a member of the US Customs and Border patrol during a roundtable on immigration and border security at the US Border Patrol Calexico Station in Calexico, California, April 5, 2019. - President Donald Trump landed in California to view newly built fencing on the Mexican border, even as he retreated from a threat to shut the frontier over what he says is an out-of-control influx of migrants and drugs. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images) MORE LESS
|
April 8, 2019 5:03 p.m.

President Donald Trump told border agents in Calexico, California last week that they shouldn’t let migrants into the country, according to a CNN report citing two unnamed sources. After Trump left the room, according to the report, the agents’ “leaders” told the agents that they would be personally liable for following the order.

CNN’s report appeared to indicate that Trump told the border agents not to let in migrants who are seeking asylum. Such an action would break federal and international law.

In a televised portion of the event with border agents in Calexico, Trump said: “And I was telling some of the people before: If it’s full, there’s nothing you can do about it. We have some horrible court decisions that have been made over the years. It’s very unfair and that’s the way it is. But the system is full. And when it’s full, there’s nothing you can do. You have to say, ‘I’m sorry, we can’t take you.'”

Per CNN, Trump had a similar message “behind the scenes” for the agents. Except he added, in the report’s words, that “if judges give you trouble, say, ‘Sorry, judge, I can’t do it. We don’t have the room.'”

Newsletters
Get TPM in your inbox, twice weekly.
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

After the President left the room, CNN’s sources said, “agents sought further advice from their leaders, who told them they were not giving them that direction.”

If the agents followed the President’s direction, the agents’ leaders reportedly said, they would be personally liable for their actions.

In addition to ousted Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, there were other senior DHS officials present at the Calexico meeting, according to a pool report, including Kevin McAleenan, the Customs and Border Protection chief who Trump named as acting Homeland Security secretary Sunday, and Gloria Chavez, the chief patrol agent in the El Centro Sector.

Latest News
Comments are now Members-Only

Non-members are still able to read comments, but will no longer be able to participate. To join the conversation, sign up now and get:

30% Off Annual Prime Membership

TPM strives to build as inclusive a community as financially possible. We offer FREE memberships to those experiencing financial hardship and FREE memberships for students.

View all options
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: