If Trump officially declares a national state of emergency, stating that people coming across the border illegally is a threat to our national security, are Americans allowed to use deadly force against illegal immigrants along the border?

  • Very opinionated source, but relevant: theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/01/… – Bobson Jan 31 '19 at 0:09
  • I haven't heard anyone even make a suggestion that immigrants, who have lawfully entered the country, would see their legal rights change in case of a declaration of a national state of emergency. Is there anything to even suggest this? SE usually does request that you, at least, do some research on your own questions. – grovkin Jan 31 '19 at 2:17
  • Do you mean under specific circumstances or in general? In case of the first, Florida's stand your ground law may be what you're looking for. Obviously, that's not restricted to immigrants, how would you even know if someone is an illegal immigrant? – JJJ Jan 31 '19 at 6:31
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    No they are not. The only time deadly force can be used is when your life is in imminent danger and even if it is you will need to prove this in a court of law after the fact... Any lawful gun owner knows this and this "law" is in almost every country the only difference, generally, is the definition of "imminent danger". – BossRoss Jan 31 '19 at 11:48
  • @BossRoss that's not true, in many stand your ground cases only a perceived threat is required. See my previous link. – JJJ Jan 31 '19 at 22:40

The United States does allow for "Citizen's Arrest" in which a citizen is allowed to detain a person for unlawful or disruptive actions, for transfer to proper law enforcement agents to handle the case. States may further restrict Citizens Arrests, and thus, codify laws as to under what circumstances they will be allowed (Usually they include arrests for any combination of Felony, Misdemeanor, or "Breaches of Peace", which are generally finable offenses.). This stems from a common law tradition that predates the U.S.'s founding. Use of non-deadly force is generally permitted by citizens such that the most limited amount of force is used to overcome the crime in progress. Self-Defense is an active defense for Homicide and must show that the deceased individual was engaged in a criminal act that would have reasonably caused the the defendant to fear for his/her life and safety or of the Life and Safety of another.

Depending on your definition of "hunting", there already several militia movements along the U.S. Border, the most well known being Minutemen Project, which has chapters in all border states. It should be pointed out that there are several splinter organizations that use similar names, at least one such organization was founded by a known Neo-Nazi. The Minutemen Project does not support white supremacy or neo-Nazism and does allow media organization, ACLU and ADL observers to join their patrols. Typically these patrols will monitor the number and movement of those illegally crossing the border, though they do engage in tactics designed to scare potential crossers away and have engaged in Citizen's Arrests. In so far as I am aware, there have been no deaths attributed to the actions of The Minutemen Project, and the founder that is still with the group does advocate for non-violence in their actions.

Suffice to say, the answer to your questions would be mixed. In the question asked in the original post, Trump would not be paving the way for militia action on the border as it has been ongoing since at least 2002. In the specifics of the title used, deadly force is not automatically justified without immediate threat of violence to one of the Minutemen or others near by, however non-deadly force and citizens arrest are perfectly valid actions, as long as they comply with local state laws.

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    “The United States does allow for "Citizen's Arrest"” that’s actually pretty debatable. You may well find yourself charged with unlawful detention or kidnapping, depending on the jurisdiction and/or the relevant cop’s mood. At least in my neck of the woods, I’ve heard a cop say “we don’t have citizen’s arrests here, but we do have something called ‘unlawful detion’, so you’re under arrest” while handcuffing some guy who placed a shoplifter under “citizen’s arrest.” So, yeah. Probably a bad idea to citizen’s arrest anyone. – HopelessN00b Jan 31 '19 at 2:38
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    So, let me clarify: The Federal Government allows the State governments to make the rules, and I'm sure the groups operating in border states have rules to be compliant. Shopkeeper's Privilege is similar but not universal (detaining a person because of reasonable suspicion of shop lifitng) and is less universal. If it's not too much trouble, could you provide a link to a news story about this case. It is one of the weirdnesses of a Federal Nation like the US but sometimes things that are legal in one state are illegal in another. – hszmv Jan 31 '19 at 15:19
  • Do you have cases where the law defends shoplifter under citizens' arrest? – user4951 Jul 4 '19 at 0:46

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