News & Politics

'A Complete Farce': Military Lawyers Will Reportedly Go to the Border to Prosecute Immigrant Parents

Rachel Maddow first reported the move, which she said was likely unprecedented.

Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Defense

In a startling move, the U.S. military will send judge advocates general (JAGs) to the border to help manage the flow of families detained by President Donald Trump's administration, according to a report from MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Wednesday.

But they won't be there to provide assistance with their asylum claims or to help manage their legal cases — they will be acting as special assistant U.S. attorneys to prosecute them for crossing the border illegally, Maddow said

"We have never heard of anything like this before," she said. "But we can report tonight that the Defense Department has agreed to this — we think, unprecedented — request from the Department of Justice."

Earlier in the week, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said that asylum-seekers who come to official ports of entry in the United States are often told to come back another because agents lack the resources to process their claims. The administration doesn't appear to be making any effort to address this backlog, which inevitably incentivizes asylum-seekers to enter between official border crossings.

Instead, it is focusing on criminalizing the border-crossers.

"This report is unreal," said MSNBC Justice Analyst Matthew Miller. "DOJ, where there are thousands of lawyers, getting prosecutors on loan not to prosecute violent crime, terrorism or financial fraud, but nonviolent misdemeanors! A complete farce."

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Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.