The Associated Press reported Friday morning that the Trump administration has considered deploying as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to, in the AP’s words, “round up” undocumented immigrants, according to an obtained draft memo:
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.
The memo, drafted by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, says that troops in the National Guard force, if authorized for deployment by their respective state governors, would “perform the functions of an immigration officer in relation to the investigation, apprehension and detention of aliens in the United States.” As is the case now, deportation orders would be required to send undocumented immigrants back to their home countries, making an immediate mass deportation campaign difficult. The AP says that nearly half of the country’s estimated 11.1 million undocumented immigrants are thought to reside in the 11 states covered by the proposal. Spokespeople for the governors of eight of those states told the AP they had no knowledge of the plan and declined to say if they would approve the use of their Guards. The memo was drafted on Jan. 25, before Trump’s signing of the Muslim ban.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has denied the AP’s report.
Update 11:43 AM, Feb. 17, 2017: White House press secretary Sean Spicer did not deny to reporters Friday morning that the proposal reported by the AP had been discussed in the administration. “I don’t know what could potentially be out there,” he said, “but I know that there is no effort to do what is potentially suggested. It is not a White House document.”
Update 12:04 PM, Feb. 17, 2017: Vox has obtained and released what appears to be the draft memo in the AP’s story. Vox’s immigration reporter Dara Lind says that the National Guard proposal highlighted by the AP was ultimately rejected by the Department of Homeland Security. The memo does not specify the 100,000 troop number in the AP’s report, but Lind writes that the National Guard forces of 11 states would indeed have been asked to enforce immigration laws in the way the AP described. This, as Lind and others have noted, could run afoul of the Posse Comitatus Act, which restricts military forces from being used for law enforcement.
This is a developing story.