WASHINGTON — The White House is denying a report that the Trump administration is considering mobilizing as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up undocumented immigrants.
Press secretary Sean Spicer said the report from the Associated Press is “100% not true.”
“It is false,” he said. “It is irresponsible to be saying this.”
The report, based on a draft memo by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, said troops in 11 states could be mobilized, including those bordering Mexico, but also as far north as Oregon. They 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."
The memo is dated Jan. 25, the same day President Trump issued an executive order directing federal agencies to "employ all lawful means to ensure the faithful execution of the immigration laws of the United States against all removable aliens." It is addressed to the then-heads of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The AP said the White House and Department of Homeland Security did not respond to requests for comment.
On Friday, Spicer told reporters aboard Air Force One that “there is no effort at all to round up, to utilize the National Guard to round up illegal immigrants.”
He said it is “not a White House document,” but he could not rule out whether it has been under discussion elsewhere in the administration.
“I don’t know what could potentially be out there, but I know that there is no effort to do what is potentially suggested,” he said.
This is not true. DHS also confirms it is 100% false https://t.co/MFIJci7XaU— Sean Spicer (@PressSec) February 17, 2017
The memo says governors could choose whether to activate their troops as part of what would be a state-federal partnership program. The AP said spokespeople for governors of eight of the states cited in the memo said they were unaware of the proposal, suggesting it has not gone beyond draft form.
At a bill signing ceremony Friday morning Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton said he needed to learn more about the alleged proposal but on the surface expressed concern. "If they're going to go after law abiding people who are here undocumented that is very concerning, very disruptive to families, the community and to our state."