The White House says an AP report on a draft memo that would mobilize National Guard troops for immigration roundups is 100% false.
However, a Time Magazine reporter has now tweeted out a full copy of the draft document, so you can decide for yourself. See it above. You can also read the memo in full at this link.
The White House says the report is false; AP has published a detailed account of what the memo says; and new reports say the memo was rejected, was “pre-decisional,” was not written by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly (even though his name is on it) and was, according to Vox, never seriously considered.
It’s possible it’s a war of semantics; Press Secretary Sean Spicer has said it’s not a White House document and has insisted the White House has no plans to ask governors to mobilize the National Guard to round up undocumented immigrants.
The White House moved literally in minutes to shoot down the AP report.
However, the AP insists that its report was based on a draft memo, and the wire service reported that the memo was written by General John Kelly.
Kelly is Trump’s secretary of Homeland Security.
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 reported 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.”
The AP report set off a flurry of tweets in which people expressed fear, accused the media of “fake news,” questioned why the White House didn’t deny the AP report before publication, and puzzled over the contradictions.
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.