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Trump weighs authorizing US troops to medically screen migrants

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President Donald Trump’s administration is considering giving U.S. troops on the border with Mexico the authority to carry out medical screening of migrants, U.S. officials told Reuters on Tuesday.

The proposal, which is still in draft form and circulating within the administration, would involve the military in screenings for things like illness and injury only if U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency personnel were overwhelmed and unable to do so on their own, the officials said.

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The proposal would expand the mission for the Pentagon, which said previously it did not expect its forces to directly interact with migrants.

The Pentagon declined to comment.

U.S. military duties on the border, including stringing up concertina wire and building temporary housing, have been aimed at supporting CBP personnel.

The U.S. officials who spoke to Reuters about the proposal did so on condition of anonymity because Trump has not yet signed off on the idea.

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It was unclear if the proposal, if confirmed in the coming days, might prolong the deployment of at least some troops at the border.

The commander of the mission told Reuters last week that the number of troops may have peaked at around 5,800, and he would soon look at whether to begin sending forces home or shifting some to new border positions.

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Trump, who won the presidency in 2016 after a campaign promising to crack down on illegal immigration, has seized upon migrant caravans headed toward the U.S. border, comparing it to an “invasion.”

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Critics have derided his position as a stunt that politicizes the military.

About 6,000 Central Americans have reached the Mexican border cities of Tijuana and Mexicali, according to local officials. More bands of migrants are making their way toward Tijuana, with around 10,000 expected.

In Tijuana and other ports of entry, CBP officers are trained to check migrants and travelers for obvious signs of infectious conditions, like fever, bleeding from the eyes or other symptoms of “quarantinable and communicable diseases,” according to a 2015 report by the Congressional Research Service.

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One U.S. official said that under the latest proposal, U.S. troops would be the option of last resort to carry out medical screenings if other officials, such as from state and local governments or the National Guard, were not available or overwhelmed.

“The intent of the authorities is not to bring the troops in closer contact with the migrants but to provide medical assistance if needed,” the official said.

On Monday, Reuters reported that Trump was likely to give U.S. troops authority to protect immigration agents stationed along the U.S. border with Mexico if they come under threat from migrants seeking to cross into the United States.

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Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart; Editing by Peter Cooney and Bill Berkrot

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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‘Alarming gibberish’: Trump mocked for raging impotently against Fed chair and China

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President Donald Trump attacked his own Federal Reserve chairman as an "enemy" of the United States amid his escalating trade war with China -- and other social media users were flabbergasted.

Fed chairman Jerome Powell refused to budge on interest rates, despite heavy pressure by the president in the face of a looming recession, and China retaliated against the tariffs Trump imposed with a new round of their own.

Trump lashed out at Powell, whose name he misspelled, and compared him unfavorably to Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

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A look inside the Koch brothers’ secret plan to manipulate politicians — and how it fueled the rise of the radical right

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Democrats and Republicans are expected to spend about $1 billion getting their 2016 nominee elected. There’s a third group that will spend almost as much. It’s not a political party, and it doesn’t have any candidates. It’s the right-wing political network backed by the billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David Koch, expected to spend nearly $900 million in 2016. The Kochs’ 2016 plans come as part of an effort to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars to conservative candidates and causes over the last four decades. The story of the Koch brothers and an allied group of billionaire donors is told in a new book by New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer, “Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right.” Mayer traces how the Kochs and other billionaires have leveraged their business empires to shape the political system in the mold of their right-wing agenda.

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New video emerges of Trump blurting out anti-Semitic slurs

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President Donald Trump this week said that the majority of American Jews were "disloyal" to Israel because they support the Democratic Party -- but that's far from the first time that the president has made controversial statements that deploy anti-Semitic tropes.

The Washington Post has obtained a video clip from 2011 that shows Trump boasting about how great one of his golf courses is before saying that "even these spoiled, rich Jewish guys, they can’t believe how good this [course] is."

The clip was originally aired on the Golf Channel for the show "Donald J. Trump's Fabulous World of Golf."

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