The White House moved at warp speed to shoot down an Associated Press report that the Trump administration was considering mobilizing National Guard troops to round up undocumented immigrants in 11 states.
Kelly is Trump’s secretary of Homeland Security.
A Time Magazine reporter tweeted out a copy of the memo that says “From John Kelly.” However, Homeland Security is now denying he wrote it, saying it was an early draft rejected and never seriously considered, according to Vox.
Homeland denies Kelly wrote it.
Specifically, the AP report says the 11-page memo “calls for the unprecedented militarization of immigration enforcement as far north as Portland, Oregon, and as far east as New Orleans, Louisiana.” As many as 100,000 National Guard troops would be given immigration enforcement powers if governors in the affected states approved, the AP report says.
The AP writes that the January 25 memo was “written by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general” and “is addressed to the then-acting heads of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.”
On Twitter, reaction to the news broke down into predictable camps. Some thought it was terrible that anyone at that level in the administration had even considered mobilizing the Guard for this purpose. Trump supporters rushed to label the AP report “fake news,” even though AP reported it had seen the memo. Others chastised the White House for not denying the report when the AP asked about it before publication. And some conspiracy theorists alleged the purpose of the leak was to discredit the media.
Either way, this is what we know now: The AP says the memo exists, although it is a draft, and Press Secretary Sean Spicer says the report is 100% false, and the National Guard is not being mobilized. However, McClatchy noted that past presidents had also used National Guard troops for some immigration related activities, although not as expansively.
According to McClatchy, in 2010, Barack Obama sent 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S. Mexico border but they didn’t have arrest powers. Rather, “they helped staff observation posts, monitor surveillance footage and build fences.” In 2006, George W. Bush sent 6,000 National Guard troops to border states to perform similar functions.
In 2006, former President George W. Bush called up 6,000 National Guard troops to California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. They were commissioned to help install border barriers, provide training and assist with border surveillance.