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By Julia Ainsley
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump made strong rhetoric in his speech on Thursday's immigration, including a warning that the US military would be armed and ready to shoot if Honduran caravan migrants headed for the border threatened the soldiers, even with stones ,
This presidential commentary and other vows and allegations he made during his speech in the White House met with confusion and controversy. Listeners wondered, "Can he really?" NBC News consulted legal and military experts and found at least seven misleading statements.
Statement 1: "If they want to throw rocks at our military, our military will resist and we'll think about it – and I told them it was a rifle," Trump said.
Fact: Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Jamie Davis said, "We will not discuss hypothetical situations or specific actions within our rules on the use of force, but our forces are trained professionals who always have the right to self-defense."
The Pentagon announced earlier this week to send 5,200 troops to the border to join 2,000 members of the National Guard.
General Terrence O & # 39; Shaughnessy announced that 5,200 troops had been stationed at the border earlier this week. The troops would follow the "standard rules for the use of force" when operating in the United States.
These rules state that "lethal force is justified only if it is reasonably assumed that the subject of such violence constitutes an immediate danger to the death or serious injury of a person."
Therefore, only someone who throws a stone in a manner that could kill or seriously injure a soldier would be hit with deadly force.
Retired General Martin Dempsey, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote on Twitter: "A wasteful use of over-stretched soldiers and marines would only get worse if they use force against the threat they face won't. "
Trump said he would send up to 15,000 troops to stop the caravan.
However, the caravan would not show a drastic increase in border crossings, as Trump predicted. Internal estimates of the DHS obtained by NBC News estimate the first and largest group of migrants in the caravan to be around 3,500. After the recent border insurgency, an average of 1,600 migrants are stopped or arrested at the border every day.
Statement 2: Trump also promised that asylum seekers would be prevented from filing asylum applications if they were caught outside the legal ports of entry at the border crossing.
Fact: This proposal, which is expected to be codified in an executive measure next week, is likely to face legal challenges in the Federal Supreme Court. Under current law, immigrants may seek asylum anywhere in the US, regardless of how they entered.
The Trump administration also violated international asylum law, said Scott Anderson, a fellow of David M. Rubenstein in governance studies at the Brookings Institution.
"US contractual obligations provide that the United States extends asylum to persons qualifying as refugees if found in the United States or on a US border, whether legally arrived there or not, "Anderson said. "The same treaties also prohibit the United States from expelling qualified persons or returning to their country of origin unless exceptional circumstances exist."
Government officials told NBC News on Thursday that they believe that Trump has the power to use asylum seekers to enforce a section of the Immigration Act only at the border crossing points, which allow the President to "impose restrictions on foreigners entering the country he considers possible appropriate. " The Trump administration used the same language to restrict Trump's execution order, which restricted travel from certain countries.
statement 3: Trump vowed to detain undocumented immigrants until they could be deported. He said the immigrants are now released only because the government does not have enough space for their detention. To remedy this, Trump swore to expand the detention rooms with so-called tent cities on the border considerably.
Fact: In addition to the lack of space, there are reasons that prevent the US Department of Immigration from holding immigrants indefinitely. A 2001 Supreme Court ruling in a case known as Zadvydas limited the length of time ICE can hold adult immigrants to administrative detention to six months. A 2015 decision by the federal court, known as Flores, limits the time children are allowed to stay in ICE custody to 20 days.
statement 4: When it separated families, Trump said, his administration continued the Obama era's policy of separating the children of migrants from their parents at the border.
Fact: The Obama administration only separated children from their parents when they were charged with a crime – without the charges of illegal border crossing. Last spring, the Trump government changed the policy to "zero tolerance" in order to bill and separate parents whose only crime was illegally crossing the border. This significantly increased the number of separated parents and children from around 100 per month to over 1,300 per month.
statement 5 There are 20 million undocumented people in the United States.
Fact: Although it's impossible to know exactly how many there are, the Department of Homeland Security estimates this figure at 12 million.
statement 6 The construction of the border wall is in progress.
Fact: Although some fences were built and the existing structures repaired, but was poured on a new boundary wall no concrete.
statement 7 Democrats want immigrants in the caravan to have the right to vote, education and health care.
Fact: According to the constitution, only US citizens have the right to vote. While Democrats more than Republicans have advocated a path to citizenship for immigrants living illegally in the US, they have not suggested that immigrants who have recently crossed the border without documents receive a vote. Immigrants without papers may already register at a public school. Healthcare.gov indicates which immigrants may be able to take out health insurance, but recently arrived undocumented immigrants are not included.
CORRECTION: (November 2, 2018, 10:15 am ET) An earlier version of this article has mislabeled the name of a fellowship in governance studies at the Brookings Institution. The scholarship is named after David M. Rubenstein, not Rubinstein.