Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said that the U.S. Border Patrol has no intention “right now” of shooting at people who may try to forcibly enter the country’s southern border.
“We do not have any intention right now to shoot at people,” Nielsen said in an interview with Fox News. “They will be apprehended however.”
Nielsen added that she takes her officers’ safety “extraordinarily seriously” and that they “of course” have the ability to defend themselves.
When asked if that meant that officers would shoot back if they were shot at, Nielsen replied, “no.”
“We’d have to work through that. But I want to make clear we will absolutely not tolerate violence against Border Patrol in this situation,” she said. “I will not tolerate Mexicans or anybody else acting in a violent way towards our men and women on the border.”
Her comments came the same day reports surfaced that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was expected to sign an order sending about 800 troops to the U.S.-Mexico border.
The reports coincided with President Trump’s statement on Thursday that he was “bringing out the military” to secure the southern border.
“I am bringing out the military for this National Emergency,” Trump tweeted early Thursday morning. “They will be stopped!”
.@SecNielsen  on if caravan members risk being shot at if they force themselves across U.S. border: "We do not have any intention right now to shoot at people." #TheStory  pic.twitter.com/Mi3ZpdsyPx 
— Fox News (@FoxNews) October 25, 2018