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.'”
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.