Soldiers on border could face decisions on use of force

United States Army, Photo Date: June 29, 2018 / Photo: Andrea Salgado Rivera / US Army / (MGN)
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WASHINGTON (AP) — UPDATE:

President Donald Trump says if migrants throw rocks at U.S. troops or border patrol officers, they're not going to be shot, but they're "going to be arrested for a long period of time."

Trump had said that he told the U.S. military mobilizing at the southwest border that if U.S. troops face rock-throwing migrants, they should react as though the rocks were "rifles."

But Trump said at the White House Friday the U.S. won't be firing on the migrants. Then he added that he hoped that shots wouldn't be fired.

He says what rock-throwing migrants did to the Mexican military was a "disgrace." Trump says the U.S. is "not going to stand for" what they did to the Mexican military and police.

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President Donald Trump's suggestion that soldiers on the southwest border open fire on any rock-throwing migrants captures in a nutshell the risk of using active duty troops for domestic security: They're not intended to interact with migrants, but some troops will be armed and could be thrust into confrontations.

More than 400 military police are being dispatched to the border as part of a larger operation to support the Customs and Border Protection agency in stopping a caravan of migrants. Trump says a rock thrown by a migrant should be considered "a rifle," escalating his rhetoric as critics accuse him of stoking immigration fears just days before the midterm elections.

About 3,500 active duty troops are now at staging bases in Texas, Arizona and California. The total deployment will exceed 7,000.