The Associated Press is reporting that President Donald Trump’s administration has considered using the National Guard to round up undocumented immigrants.
However, the White House immediately shot down the incendiary report. Within minutes of the AP’s story – which says a draft memo outlines the scheme – Press Secretary Sean Spicer said it is 100% false.
Spicer provided additional denials to the media.
Spicer also told NBC News the story was “false.”
The Department of Homeland Security (its secretary John Kelly’s name is on the report) denied to Vox that Kelly wrote it, and said it was an early draft that was rejected and never seriously considered.
The report is still stoking fear.
The report came out on February 17. The AP initially posted on Twitter the following: “BREAKING: Trump administration considers mobilizing as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants.”
The AP reported it had seen a “draft memo” that outlined a “Trump administration proposal” to mobilize the troops to “round up unauthorized immigrants” in 11 states running from Portland, Oregon to New Orleans, Louisiana.
A Time Magazine reporter then tweeted out the memo. You can read it in full here.
The Associated Press reported that the draft memo outlines a proposal to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants. Millions of those who would be affected in 11 states live nowhere near the Mexico border. Governors of states would get to ultimately decide whether their states’ National Guard Troops would participate, AP reports.
The use of a militarized strike force to round up human beings would almost certainly provoke intense outcry, which may help explain why the White House moved so fast to debunk it.
The president has not steered away from controversy over ICE raids that have unfolded throughout the country since he took the oath of office, though. ICE has repeatedly stressed that it is not indiscriminately doing roundups, but rather is conducting focused detentions like it always has done.
Both ICE and the president have insisted the raids are targeting illegal immigrants with criminal records (something that ICE did under President Barack Obama too, as this photo shows:)
An analysis by USA Today, though, showed that Trump is rounding up a larger percentage of undocumented immigrants without criminal records than Obama did, writing, “Of 678 people rounded up in 12 states during raids last week, 74% had been convicted of a crime. That is down from 90% of detained people with criminal records in 2016 under Obama.”
The Trump raids have drawn outcry because they are roping in people like a man who was given deferred status to stay and work in the country as a “Dreamer” under the DACA Act (ICE says he admitted being a gang member; the lawyer for the man says he has no criminal record and is not one). The detention of a mother in Arizona – when she went to check in with an ICE agent – provoked protest, although she has a felony conviction.