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Acting Defense Secretary authorizes waivers for 280 troops to interact with migrants

  1. Date Announced

    April 26, 2019

    Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan authorized waivers for approximately 280 troops--including lawyers, cooks, and drivers--to exempt them from a 2006 policy prohibiting military personnel from directly interacting with migrants. [ID #395]

    View Policy Document
  2. Effective Date of Change

    April 26, 2019
Status: Final/Actual
Type of Action: Change in Practice
Subject Matter: Border
Agencies Affected: DOD

Prior Policies

  • The Defense Department had a long-standing policy of prohibiting military personnel from directly interacting with migrants. The Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S.C. ยง 1385) makes it a crime to use the Army or Air Force as a domestic police force in most circumstances. The law, which was enacted in 1878, was intended to end the use of federal troops to supervise elections in the former Confederate states. More generally it reflected an uneasiness with a military role in domestic law enforcement, and a philosophical commitment to subordinating military power to civilian authority.

    Posse Comitatus Act Limits Armed Services at Home

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