WASHINGTON (CBS) As many as 100,000 National Guard troops could be used to round up unauthorized immigrants, including in states far from the international border. The Associated Press is reporting obtaining an 11-page draft memo calling for the immigration enforcement as far north as Portland, Oregon and as far east as New Orleans, Louisiana. And the White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer is emphatically denying the report, tweeting out “This is not true. DHS also confirms it is 100% false.”
Spicer told reporters on Air Force One Friday “It is false. It is irresponsible to be saying this. There is no effort to utilize the National Guard to round up immigrants.” He added this “is not a White House document.” Spicer turned to the AP too, saying “I wish you guys had asked before you tweeted.”
According to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spokesperson, the agency is not considering using the National Guard. The report obtained by AP, according to DHS, was only a very early draft that never made it to Secretary John Kelly’s desk, and was never seriously considered by the agency.
As far as the obtained memo, AP is reporting four states that border on Mexico are included: California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. AP says it also includes seven other states: Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. Governors in those 11 states named would have the discretion to allow their guard troops to participate or not.
The AP is reporting too that the original memo was written by DHS Secretary John Kelly.
However, this wouldn’t be the first time National Guard troops are used to assist with immigration missions. They have been mobilized along the U.S. – Mexico border, but have never been used as broadly or as far north.
The memo obtained by AP is addressed to the then-acting heads of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It’s reported that this memo would be used as guidance while implementing President Donald Trump’s January 25th executive order on immigration and border security. This memo is reported as being also dated January 25th.
The AP obtained memo includes participating troops having authorization “to perform the functions of an immigration officer in relation to the investigation, apprehension and detention of aliens in the United States.”
It details the activation of troops under a revived state-federal partnership program, adding that troops would be allowed to conduct searches, identifying and arresting any unauthorized immigrants.
It’s also reported this draft memo had circulated among DHS staff over the last two weeks. As recently as Friday, employees in a variety of offices reported discussions about the memo were taking place.
The Associated Press is reporting Pew Research Center estimates of nearly half of the 11.1 million people living in the U.S. illegally live in the 11 states named in the memo. One of President Donald Trump’s executive orders issued in January expanded the definition of who is considered a criminal, and a potential target for deportation according to the AP. Therefore, using National Guard troops could greatly increase the number of people targeted. That same executive order allows immigration agents to fast-track deporting anyone who has “committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense.”
The AP reports that even if the proposal is implemented, there would not be immediate mass deportations. Those with existing deportation orders could be sent back to their countries of origin without additional proceedings in court the AP reports.
The Associated Press says it reached out to the governors of Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California, Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon and New Mexico, spokespeople saying they were unaware of the proposal.
This proposal would extend the federal-local partnership program that was scaled back under President Barack Obama in 2012 because of complaints it promoted racial profiling. The 287(g) program, included in President Trump’s executive order, gives local police, sheriff’s deputies and state troopers the authority to assist in the detection of immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally as a regular part of their law enforcement duties.
According to the memo obtained by AP, the mobilization of the National Guard would specifically empower troops to solely carry out immigration enforcement, not as an add-on like local law enforcement.
National Guard deployments in the past have focused on natural or man-made disasters or for military protection of people or infrastructure. Guard troops were mobilized twice in the mid-2000s under President George W. Bush to the southern U.S. border.
The AP reports President Bush initiated the 287(g) program allowing specially trained local law enforcement officials to participate in immigration enforcement. ICE reportedly trained and certified roughly 1,600 officers to carry out the checks from 2006 through 2015.
Last week, ICE officers arrested more than 680 people around the country in what Kelly said were routine, targeted operations; advocates called the actions stepped-up enforcement under Trump.
Click the link to read the memo for yourself and decide if it's 'fake news'.