Trump Proposed Shooting Migrants to Prevent Them From Crossing the Border

A new book from two New York Times reporters contains some horrifying details.

Alex Brandon/AP

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

President Donald Trump once pitched fortifying the border with a snake-filled trench, creating an electrified wall with spikes, and reportedly suggested officers shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down, according to an excerpt from a new book written by New York Times reporters Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Michael Shear. 

The excerpt provides a revealing look at the internal drama within the White House as the Trump administration has aggressively cracked down on migration to the United States; White House advisers are described as being in a state of “near panic” after Trump ordered the closure of the US-Mexico border in March.

At the time, then-Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen reportedly warned in a March meeting that migrants would still try to claim asylum after crossing into the United States if Trump closed the border. In another exchange, Trump suggested the need for a cement wall, to which Nielsen reportedly responded: “I literally don’t think that’s even possible.” According to the report, the president “routinely berated Ms. Nielsen as ineffective and, worse—at least in his mind—not tough-looking enough.” Trump eventually ousted Nielsen as part of an overhaul inside his administration of other officials who White House aide Stephen Miller “believed were thwarting efforts to block immigrants.”  

“The president was frustrated and I think he took that moment to hit the reset button,” former acting director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Thomas Homan told the Times

Read the rest of the excerpt here.

LESS DREADING, MORE DOING

This is the rubber-meets-road moment: the early days in our first fundraising drive since we took a big swing and merged with CIR to bring fearless investigative reporting to the internet, radio, video, and everywhere else that people need an antidote to lies and propaganda.

Donations have started slow, and we hope that explaining, level-headedly, why your support really is everything for our reporting will make a difference. Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” or in this 2:28 video about our merger (that literally just won an award), and please pitch in if you can right now.

payment methods

LESS DREADING, MORE DOING

This is the rubber-meets-road moment: the early days in our first fundraising drive since we took a big swing and merged with CIR to bring fearless investigative reporting to the internet, radio, video, and everywhere else that people need an antidote to lies and propaganda.

Donations have started slow, and we hope that explaining, level-headedly, why your support really is everything for our reporting will make a difference. Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” or in this 2:28 video about our merger (that literally just won an award), and please pitch in if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate