President Donald Trump's relentless war against Latin American immigrants being waged with mass arrests and child separations at the southern U.S. border reveals Trump's willingness to resort to illegal methods to protect the border.

A stunning exposé by The New York Times recounts episodes where Trump ordered U.S. Army soldiers at the border to shoot migrants if rocks were hurled at them. Trump backed-off when aides told him this was illegal.

Trump later suggested U.S. soldiers shoot migrants in the legs instead. His aides again told him this course of action is illegal under U.S. law.

Since the start of his presidency, Trump has put forward a long string of his own personal ideas to stem the immigrant tide. At one point in the immigrant crisis earlier this year, Trump wanted to shut down the entire 2,000 mile-long border with Mexico by noon the next day.

His advisers managed to talk him out of this proposal, which was totally undoable. He was apparently convinced to drop the idea after aides said an immediate closure of the border would lead to an economic meltdown in both the U.S. and Mexico.

Some of Trump's other ideas for keeping out Latin American immigrants include buttressing the border wall with a water-filled trench crammed with snakes or alligators. Trump apparently wasn't kidding with this idea. He asked his aides to find out how much getting this done would cost taxpayers.

He also wanted the wall to have sharpened steel spikes on top that could rip human flesh.

“The president wanted it to be fixed quickly," said Thomas Homan, who served as Trump’s acting director of Immigration and Customs to explain Trump's bizarre obsession with immigrants.

Adding to Trump's frustration is his belief he can do anything.

“I have absolute power to shut down the border,” Trump said in an earlier interview with the Times. This partly explains his drive of keeping immigrants out and building the wall he formerly boasted Mexico would pay for in its entirety.

Trump's failure to completely stop immigrant inflows into the U.S. saw him vent his frustration on his aides. The perception led Trump to stage the wholesale purge of the Department of Homeland Security earlier this year that saw the firing of Kirstjen Nielsen and the sacking of other top DHS officials deemed by Trump to have frustrated his efforts.

Border wall construction People work on the U.S./ Mexican border wall on Feb. 12, 2019 in El Paso, Texas. Sixteen states have filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump's national emergency declaration, which he made in order to gain funding to complete a wall along the U.S. southern border. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images