President Trump told Customs and Border Patrol agents last week to break federal laws and court orders by refusing to allow any migrants through the border, CNN reported Monday.
During a visit to Calexico, Calif., on Friday, Trump reportedly told border patrol agents behind the scenes not to let any migrants in and, if ordered to by a judge, to respond, “Sorry, judge, I can’t do it. We don’t have the room,” two sources told CNN.
When the agents later asked their commanding officers about the president’s instructions, their superiors said the policy was to obey the law and that they would face personal liability if they complied with Trump’s orders, according to CNN.
During Friday’s trip to the border, Trump also reportedly told Nielsen and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to shut down the port of El Paso on March 22, with plans to close other ports later.
Nielsen reportedly pushed back on the President’s order, arguing that closing down the ports would simply shut down legal commerce and travel while migrants entered between the ports.
Trump responded, “I don’t care,” according to two people in the room, CNN reports.
Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney reportedly talked Trump out of the plan which then led Trump to instead wanting to refuse entry to asylum seekers.
Nielsen then attempted in vain to explain to the president that migrants from Central America are legally allowed to apply for asylum.
CNN’s report comes less than 24 hours after Nielsen’s resignation Sunday night, which NBC News reports was largely due to Trump pressuring her to resume the separation of parents from their children at the border.
Trump reportedly argued that family separation was the most effective deterrent, while Nielsen reminded him he had already signed an executive order ending the practice.