President Donald Trump’s administration is denying a new Associated Press report suggesting his White House is considering mobilizing the National Guard to round up illegal immigrants.
According to the AP’s Garance Burke, the Trump administration is “considering a proposal to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants,” to include “millions” who live nowhere near the U.S.-Mexico border.
BREAKING: Trump administration considers mobilizing as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants.
— The Associated Press (@AP) February 17, 2017
From the report:
The 11-page document calls for the unprecedented militarization of immigration enforcement as far north as Portland, Oregon, and as far east as New Orleans, Louisiana.
Four states that border on Mexico are included in the proposal — California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas — but it also encompasses seven states contiguous to those four — Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.
Governors in the 11 states would have a choice whether to have their guard troops participate, according to the memo, written by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general.
While National Guard personnel have been used to assist with immigration-related missions on the U.S.-Mexico border before, they have never been used as broadly or as far north.
The Trump administration was quick to denounce the report moments after it was released, though the AP said it was unable to reach the White House or the Department of Homeland Security for comment before publishing Burke’s story.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer told the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein that the AP report is “100 percent false,” adding, “There is no effort to use the National Guard to round up.”
The AP said a draft of the proposal has been “circulated among DHS staff over the last two weeks,” but a spokeswoman for the federal agency told NBC News: “That AP story about the National Guard is incorrect. It’s not true.”
Spokespeople for the governors of Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Oregon told Burke they were unaware of any such proposal and declined to comment further.
The National Guard, according to the AP, would be given wide-ranging authority, should the alleged proposal be implemented:
[T]he draft memo says participating troops would be authorized “to perform the functions of an immigration officer in relation to the investigation, apprehension and detention of aliens in the United States.” It describes how the troops would be activated under a revived state-federal partnership program, and states that personnel would be authorized to conduct searches and identify and arrest any unauthorized immigrants.
Similar operations involving the National Guard have been carried out in the past, though it is important to note that they have been done in cooperation with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Border Patrol and were focused only along the United States’ southern border.
For example, in 2006, then-President George W. Bush launched Operation Jump Start, which deployed 6,000 National Guard officers “to assist with surveillance, installing fences and vehicle barriers, as well as provide training.”
From U.S. Customs and Border Protection:
National Guard units assist CBP by executing logistical and administrative support, operating detection systems, providing mobile communications, augmenting border-related intelligence analysis efforts, and building and installing border security infrastructure.
Operation Jump Start relieves Border Patrol agents from non-law enforcement duties, allowing them to focus on border security.
News of this alleged proposal follows Trump’s signing of an executive order on Jan. 25, greatly expanding the federal government’s priorities regarding the deportation of illegal immigrants. In the order, the president calls for the removal of people in the U.S. illegally who “have been convicted of any criminal offense,” “have been charged with any criminal offense,” “have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense” or “are subject to a final order of removal.”
As TheBlaze previously reported, the Mexican government has warned its citizens living in the U.S. to “take precautions” as they face a “new reality” under the Trump administration.
“The entire Mexican community should take precautions and keep in touch with the nearest consulate, to obtain the necessary help to face this kind of situation,” the statement reads.