The Department of Homeland Security on Friday denied reports that the Trump administration is considering using as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to detain undocumented immigrants living in the United States. “It’s incorrect,” department spokesman David Lapan said in an email. “The Department is not considering mobilizing the National Guard for immigration enforcement.”
On Friday morning, the Associated Press reported that it had obtained a draft memo outlining the proposal:
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.
According to the AP story, the White House and DHS ignored the news organization’s requests for comment prior to publication. Nonetheless, once the story was released, the White House immediately insisted it had no plans to mobilize the National Guard to round up immigrants.
“That is 100 percent not true,” said press secretary Sean Spicer, according to a pool report. “It is false. It is irresponsible to be saying this…There is no effort at all to round up, to utilize the National Guard to round up illegal immigrants.”
This is not true. DHS also confirms it is 100% false https://t.co/MFIJci7XaU
— Sean Spicer (@PressSec) February 17, 2017
Still, the pool report noted that Spicer “couldn’t categorically state that this was never a subject of discussion somewhere in the administration.” He added, “I don’t know what could potentially be out there, but I know that there is no effort to do what is potentially suggested…It is not a White House document.”
The alarming back-and-forth comes on the heels of widespread anxiety and confusion over the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s recent deportation actions. False rumors and misinformation, particularly on social media, have caused deep uncertainty over what the administration’s enforcement plans actually are.
Below is a copy of the draft memo obtained by the AP:
This is a breaking news story. We will update as more information becomes available.