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DHS weighed mobilizing National Guard for immigration roundups; Arkansas included in proposal

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published February 17, 2017 at 9:51 a.m. Updated February 17, 2017 at 11:58 a.m.


FILE - In this Feb. 24, 2015, file photo, members of the National Guard patrol along the Rio Grande at the Texas-Mexico border in Rio Grande City, Texas. The Trump administration is considering a proposal to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico border, according to a draft memo obtained by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

The Trump administration considered a proposal to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico border, according to a draft memo obtained by The Associated Press.

Staff members in the Department of Homeland Security said the proposal had been discussed as recently as last Friday.

The 11-page document calls for the unprecedented militarization of immigration enforcement as far north as Portland, Ore., and as far east as New Orleans.

Four states that border on Mexico were 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.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Friday the document was "not a White House document."

[DOCUMENT: Read the National Guard draft memo]

"There is no effort to do what is potentially suggested," he said. Spicer called the AP report "100 percent not true, adding that there was "no effort at all to utilize the National Guard to round up unauthorized immigrants."

A DHS official described the document as a very early draft that was not seriously considered and never brought to the secretary for approval.

The AP had sought comment from the White House beginning Thursday and DHS earlier Friday and had not received a response from either.

Governors in the 11 states would have had a choice whether to have their guard troops participate, according to the memo, which bears the name of U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general.

While National Guard personnel have been used to assist with immigration-related missions on the U.S.-Mexico border before, they have never been used as broadly or as far north.

The memo was addressed to the then-acting heads of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It would have served as guidance to implement the wide-ranging executive order on immigration and border security that President Donald Trump signed Jan. 25. Such memos are routinely issued to supplement executive orders.

Also dated Jan. 25, the draft memo says participating troops would be authorized "to perform the functions of an immigration officer in relation to the investigation, apprehension and detention of aliens in the United States." It describes how the troops would be activated under a revived state-federal partnership program, and states that personnel would be authorized to conduct searches and identify and arrest any unauthorized immigrants.

Nearly one-half of the 11.1 million people residing in the U.S. without authorization live in the 11 states, according to Pew Research Center estimates based on 2014 Census data.

Use of National Guard troops would greatly increase the number of immigrants targeted in one of Trump's executive orders last month, which expanded the definition of who could be considered a criminal and therefore a potential target for deportation. That order also allows immigration agents to prioritize removing anyone who has "committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense."

Under current rules, even if the proposal had been implemented, there would not be immediate mass deportations. Those with existing deportation orders could be sent back to their countries of origin without additional court proceedings. But deportation orders generally would be needed for most other unauthorized immigrants.

The troops would not be nationalized, remaining under state control.

Spokespeople for the governors of nine of the states either declined to comment or said it was premature to discuss whether they would participate.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said his state had not had any contact about the proposal, but added, "I would have concerns about the utilization of National Guard resources for immigration enforcement."

A representative for Texas did not immediately respond to the AP.

Check back for updates and read Saturday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.


Comments on: DHS weighed mobilizing National Guard for immigration roundups; Arkansas included in proposal

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RBear says... February 17, 2017 at 11:22 a.m.

This is disturbing coming from our so-called president. Placing the responsibility of search and seizure into the hands of young National Guardsmen and women is a heavy burden for them to manage. It invites danger and could lead to unnecessary escalation should the situation turn bad. ICE agents go through extensive training to understand how to do this properly and avoid harm. They also know the constitutional boundaries of their actions.
I know the war hawks in here will pounce on this like rabid dogs, but from what I've read of their comments, they don't think these actions through. While Spicer is denying it, the memo does exist and appears to be valid. The fact that Trump's administration is even considering it is troubling and shows what extent they'll go to in serving the president.

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richlin04211114 says... February 17, 2017 at 12:19 p.m.

Get your story straight. This was never considered by the White House.

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DoubleBlind says... February 17, 2017 at 12:39 p.m.

Trump stated during the campaign that he would create a 'deportation force to conduct immigration raids.' DHS personnel are confirming the draft is real. That all seems to indicate that Trump and his goons are indeed exploring options with the help of DHS.

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DontGoThere says... February 17, 2017 at 12:58 p.m.

Glad to see our government finally taking control of the illegal immigration problems & using our National Guard to protect our OWN country, instead of protecting other countries. All they have to do to go through the proper channels to stay in our great country LEGALLY. Trump's not deporting all immigrants - just the illegal ones. Give him a break!

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mrcharles says... February 17, 2017 at 1:09 p.m.

Yes show me your papers.

Perhaps they will also be used at the RR stations when these people are loaded into railroad cars. Perhaps they will be given striped pj's to wear on the way to the work camps.

Perhaps the churches will be questioned for their information on their congregations [ you know they keep records of their sheep and many have signs out front asking for Hispanics to join their congregations]

Perhaps our Judeo-Christian land will ignore You shall allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the sojourners who reside among you and have had children among you. They shall be to you as native-born children of Israel. With you they shall be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel.”

A Trump may move a man, a father may claim a son. But remember that, even when those who move you be Trumps or men of power, your soul is in your keeping alone. When you stand before G-d you cannot say "but I was told by others to do thus" or that "virtue was not convenient at the time. This will not suffice. Remember that.

There are those in our own country too who today speak of the "protection of country" -- of "survival." A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient -- to look the other way.
Well, the answer to that is "survival as what?" A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult!
Before the people of the world, let it now be noted that here, in our decision, this is what we stand for: justice, truth, and the value of a single human being

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PopMom says... February 17, 2017 at 2:07 p.m.

So many countries are angry with us now, and people are starting to discuss boycotts of American goods. Also, we've had peaceful relations with our southern neighbor since about 1850. We should rethink if we want a hostile neighbor. It does not work well for the rest of the world.

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Slak says... February 17, 2017 at 2:21 p.m.

More fake news.
AP dumpster divers think they struck gold. Fool's gold is what they are trying to sell.

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Packman says... February 17, 2017 at 2:29 p.m.

Fake news, morons. Fake news.

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DontGoThere says... February 17, 2017 at 2:48 p.m.

Funny how everyone's blaming Trump, but it's the Obama administration that fu*ked things up by letting every Tom, Dick & Harry come across our borders undocumented! No country allows this type of behavior with their borders! PopMom - maybe you should support all the illegals living here in our country, instead of them bankrupting our economy!

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DoubleBlind says... February 17, 2017 at 2:50 p.m.

It is NOT fake news. There is indeed a draft proposal; DHS has confirmed it. There does not appear to be any decision in place to roll out the plan (yet, anyway) but it most definitely has been explored to the point that DHS was enlisted to scope it. Stop parroting Pants-on-Fire Spicer; it is not fake news.

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