Trump officials suggested using ‘heat ray’ to repel migrants from border in 2018: report

Trump administration officials reportedly floated using a microwave “heat ray” to deter migrants from crossing the border illegally in the days leading up to the 2018 midterm elections.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials reportedly floated the idea in a meeting with top leaders of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in October 2018, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

The newspaper reported that the idea was floated on the same day that the White House stressed in a separate meeting with the DHS secretary that “extreme action” was needed to stop migrants.

The suggestion of using a “heat ray,” a military-designed device that makes people’s skin feel like it is burning, shocked attendees at the meeting, the Times reported, citing two former officials who attended it.

Then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen reportedly denounced the suggestion and asked that it not be brought up in meetings again.

Alexei Woltornist, a spokesman for DHS, told The Hill on Wednesday that the heat-ray “was never considered.”

Other ideas Trump reportedly floated — such as building a trench around the border and filling it with alligators or snakes — was also shot down, according to the Times.

The discussions came roughly two weeks before the 2018 midterm elections, when Democrats flipped the House. Trump ran on a heavily anti-immigration agenda, making the construction of the border wall a keystone campaign promise.

At least two former Trump administration DHS officials — Miles Taylor and Elizabeth Neumann — have spoken out against the administration since last week, throwing their support behind Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. 

Taylor at one point alleged that the administration asked DHS officials to unilaterally deny people access to the southern border, offering them a pardon when they raised concerns about the legality of such a plan.

Tags Joe Biden Kirstjen Nielsen
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