- President Donald Trump once suggested shooting migrants in the legs to slow them down, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
- The comment came amid Trump’s fury this past spring over a surge in Central American migrant families seeking asylum in the US.
- Though Trump frequently railed about the issue in public and threatened to shut down the entire border, The Times reported that Trump privately suggested far more gruesome approaches.
- He also suggested digging a moat to fortify the border wall and filling it with “snakes or alligators,” The Times reported, and Trump “wanted the wall electrified, with spikes on top that could pierce human flesh.”
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President Donald Trump, at the height of his fury over a springtime influx of migrants, suggested shooting migrants in the legs to prevent them from crossing into the United States, The New York Times reported Tuesday, citing a dozen sources from the White House and administration.
Enraged by the soaring numbers of Central American migrant families seeking asylum in the US, Trump has turned to a number of different approaches to tamp down the surge, such as implementing a so-called asylum ban and forcing many migrants to remain in Mexico while their cases were processed.
In public, Trump frequently threatened to shut down the entire border. But The Times reported that his private musings were far more gruesome — he spoke of digging a moat along the border and filling it with “snakes or alligators,” The Times reported, saying that his aides even sought to find out how much the plan would cost.
Trump also reportedly suggested electrifying the border wall and placing spikes on top that could puncture human flesh.
Trump had publicly suggested soldiers shoot migrants if they threw rocks — an idea his staff later told him was illegal. But in private, he went even further and suggested shooting migrants in the legs to slow them down, according to The Times.
His aides told him that, too, would be illegal, according to The Times.
The White House did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
“The president was frustrated, and I think he took that moment to hit the reset button,” Thomas Homan, the former Immigration and Customs Enforcement acting director, told The Times.
At the time, the number of migrants apprehended at the border soared to more than 100,000 per month, overwhelming Border Patrol agents and triggering chaos at many of the Border Patrol stations tasked with detaining and caring for migrant families and children.
The issue consumed much of Trump’s time and energy at the time, and contributed to the ousting of then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.