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Trump says rocks thrown at U.S. military by immigrants at border will be considered "a rifle"

Trump pushes to change asylum process
Trump says soldiers would return fire if migrants throw rocks as "firearm" 02:58

President Trump claimed his administration is finalizing a plan to only allow asylum seekers to apply at designated points of entry at the border, as he continues to push immigration issues ahead of the midterm elections next week. 

Currently, those who don't go to an official checkpoint are still afforded a chance to wait for trial and make their case. 

The president also said the military will not tolerate violence at the border, and any rocks thrown at the military will be treated like "a firearm."

"Anybody throwing stones, rocks -- like they did to Mexico and the Mexican military, Mexican police, where they badly hurt police and soldiers of Mexico -- we will consider that a firearm," he said.

When a reporter asked him about this, the president said he has told the U.S. military to "consider it a rifle."

"We will consider that the maximum that we can consider that, because they're throwing rocks viciously and violently," he said. "You saw that three days ago.  Really hurting the military.  We're not going to put up with that.  If they want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back.  We're going to consider -- and I told them, consider it a rifle.  When they throw rocks like they did at the Mexico military and police, I say, consider it a rifle."

The Pentagon, asked about the president's assertion, said in a statement by spokesperson Cmdr. Sean Robertson, "We will not discuss hypothetical situations or specific measures within our rules on the use of force, but our forces Are trained professionals who always have the inherent right of defense."

Mr. Trump said he will have some sort of executive order next week on immigration, although he offered few details. 

"Migrants seeking asylum will have to present themselves lawfully at a port of entry," the president declared. "Those who choose to break our laws and enter illegally will no longer be able to use meritless claims to gain automatic admission into our country."

In the days leading up to Tuesday's midterms, and as a caravan of migrants approaches the southern border, the president has ramped up his immigration rhetoric. Mr. Trump on Wednesday said he will send up to 15,000 troops to the border, he has threatened to end aid to some Central American countries, and in an interview that Axios aired Tuesday, he said he intends to end birthright citizenship by executive order. 

"Birthright citizenship is a very very important subject," the president said Wednesday, as he was leaving for Florida. "In my opinion it's much less complex than people think. I think it says it very loud and clear in the Constitution that you don't have to go through the process of whatever they're talking about."

"And by the way this is not a constitutional amendment -- you do not need a constitutional amendment for birthright citizenship," he told reporters. "I believe you can have a simple vote in Congress or it's even possible, in my opinion -- this is after meeting with some very talented scholars -- that you can do it through an executive order." And he added, "Now I'd rather do it through Congress because that's permanent."

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