White House Denies Claims Donald Trump Wants 100,000 National Guard Troops to Round Up Illegal Immigrants
Chris Kitching, Mirror, February 17, 2017
The White House says reports claiming President Donald Trump is considering using 100,000 National Guard troops to round up illegal immigrants are “100% false”.
Trump’s top spokesman strongly denied a report shortly after it was published today and branded it “irresponsible”.
An 11-page draft memo suggests that the Trump administration was considering mobilising National Guard members to arrest immigrants who are living in the US illegally as part of the president’s promised crackdown.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer told the Washington, DC, press corps that the Department of Homeland Security also stated the story was not true.
The report claimed that up to 100,000 troops could be sent to 11 states, including the four along the US-Mexico border, as part of the crackdown, although a copy of the draft memo, which was published online, doesn’t list a figure.
“That is 100% not true. It is false. It is irresponsible to be saying this.”
He also tweeted: “This is not true. DHS also confirms it is 100% false”.
Dated January 25, the draft memo was from Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and written for the acting heads of four government departments, including US Customs and Border Protection and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Spicer said it was not a White House document.
It addressed the implementation of new policy in Trump’s executive order on border security and immigration enforcement, with a section on “empowering” state and local law enforcement agencies to perform the functions of a federal immigration officer.
It stated that state National Guard members could be used as they are “well-suited to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law and augment border security operations”.
A copy of Trump’s executive order, which was signed January 25 and published on the White House’s website, contains a section on “empowering” state and local law enforcement agencies with similar phrases from the draft memo, but the references to the National Guard were not included.
A Homeland Security official told a Cox Media Group reporter that the draft memo was “a very early, pre-decisional draft” and was “never seriously considered by the department”.
Immigration has been one of the most controversial components of Trump’s platform.
During the presidential election campaign the Republican vowed to deport more than 11 million people who are living in the US “illegally”, including up to three million who, he claimed, have criminal records.
Troops provide security at home and combat terrorism on missions abroad, although they are usually most visible while responding to domestic emergencies or disasters, including major hurricanes or floods.
Last September they were deployed onto the streets of Charlotte, North Carolina, to restore order amid protests following the fatal police shooting of a black man.
Most National Guard members serve part-time while holding a civilian full-time job.
Disputing press reports has become an almost daily task for Spicer, who may be the most recognisable face of Trump’s administration.
He famously sparred with the press over the number of people who attended Trump’s inauguration in January after photos compared the crowd size to that of former President Barack Obama’s first inauguration, in 2009.