Speed Reads


Trump officials reportedly mulled using 'heat ray' to repel migrants at the border

About two weeks before the 2018 midterm elections, President Trump told then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and White House staffers that "extreme action" was needed to keep migrants from entering the United States at the southern border, and later that day, a shocking suggestion was made, two former officials told The New York Times.

During a meeting with top leaders of the Department of Homeland Security, officials from Customs and Border Protection suggested deploying the Active Denial System, a microwave weapon known as a "heat ray" that was designed by the military to disperse crowds. When its invisible beams hit a person's skin, it feels like it is being burned. The Times notes that the heat ray is rarely used now questions about its effectiveness and whether it's moral to deploy.

The former officials told the Times people in the room were shocked by the suggestion, and after the meeting, Nielsen told an aide she would not authorize use of such a device and it must never be mentioned in her presence again. It's unclear if Trump knew about the proposal. A Homeland Security spokesman told the Times on Wednesday the suggestion was "never considered."

Most of the Trump administration's policies have been slammed by immigration advocates, including the separation of migrant children from their parents, the lowering of the annual cap for refugees, and the travel bans on predominantly Muslim countries.