Jul 26, 2019

Active troops monitor detained migrants in Texas

Detention center in Donna, Tex. in 2017. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

Active-duty troops are monitoring migrants from inside a Border Patrol holding facility in Donna, Texas, to perform welfare or "wellness" checks, NBC reports.

Why it matters: According to a congressman and a former defense official interviewed by NBC, these stationed troops are potentially in danger of violating the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits the use of the military in civilian law enforcement.

What's happening: 4 defense officials — 2 current and 2 former — told NBC that the troops are stationed in Donna to perform wellness checks requested by Homeland Security last year. According to those officials, troops began those welfare checks earlier this summer.

  • These checks are reportedly intended to identify migrants' responsiveness and check for "signs of illness, any signs of violence, and signs of suspicious behavior," per NBC.
  • "The checks started with troops walking through the facility every 15 minutes, but troops now stand above the migrants and monitor them constantly," NBC reports.

What they're saying: Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) told NBC that having active duty troops supervise detained migrants is "teetering on the edge of the posse comitatus law."

  • A former defense official told NBC that if a service member responds to a fight, they'd play a different role than what is legally permitted under the Posse Comitatus Act, adding, "They should be way behind the fence of the border to help CBP."
  • John Cornelio, a spokesperson for the U.S. military's Northern Command, told NBC that, "In the event of a medical emergency or other reportable event, our military personnel immediately notify CBP personnel on-site who respond to the incident or event in question."

Go deeper: Trump administration sends 2,100 more troops to southern border

Go deeper

Biden formally secures Democratic presidential nomination

Joe Biden speaks at Delaware State University's student cente on June 5. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden became the formal Democratic presidential nominee on Friday evening, per AP.

The big picture: Biden has been the presumptive frontrunner to take on President Trump since Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign in early April.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,724.516 — Total deaths: 394,018 — Total recoveries — 2,996,832Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 1,894,753 — Total deaths: 109,042 — Total recoveries: 491,706 — Total tested: 19,231,444Map.
  3. Public health: WHCA president says White House violated social-distancing guidelines to make reporters "a prop" — Jailing practices contribute to spread.
  4. Sports: How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar.
  5. Jobs: Better-than-expected jobs report boosts stock market.
  6. Media: The Athletic lays off 8% of staff, implements company-wide pay cut.

Scoop: German foreign minister to travel to Israel with warning on annexation

Heiko Maas. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is expected to travel to Israel next week to warn that there will be consequences if Israeli leaders move forward with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Israeli officials and European diplomats tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli and European officials agree that if Israel goes ahead with unilateral annexation, the EU will respond with sanctions.