U.S. President Donald Trump may have plans to step up his attack on undocumented migrants by deploying up to 100,000 troops from the National Guard to help capture authorized migrants, according to a memo shown to AP. The plan would send troops not only to border states, but also farther north. An administration official denied the veracity of this report to NBC.
The Associated Press reported Friday that Trump’s administration was looking at using the National Guard across 11 states to round up people who were illegally in U.S. territory.
The media outlet cited an 11-page draft memo written by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and addressed to heads of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
However, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer referred to the report as false and "irresponsible" and said there been no push by the administration to use the National Guard.
According to the Jan. 25 memo, troops would be used in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas which all border Mexico, but also as far as Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.
It what appears to be a manifestation of Trump’s promised “border force,” National Guard troops would “perform the functions of an immigration officer in relation to the investigation, apprehension and detention of aliens in the United States,” the memo read.
It comes following Trump's executive order to cut federal funding to so-called “sanctuary cities” protecting immigrants, with federal immigration officials already arresting hundreds of people. The executive order also widened the definition of who is a criminal and can be targeted for deportation. Commonly memos are issued to give context following an executive order.
The draft memo explains how the plan would allow National Guard personnel to search and carry out immigration enforcement and hire 5,000 more border agents with additional funding from Congress. It also mentioned Trump’s election promise to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border in an attempt to cut down migration.
Additionally, state governors would be able decide if they wanted to have their National Guard troops used in the plan. Spokespeople for the governors of Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California, Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon and New Mexico, who were contacted said that they were unaware of the proposal.
According to AP, the draft memo has been circulating among the Department of Homeland Security staff for the last two weeks.
Typically the National Guard are deployed in emergency and security situations, but in the past, troops have been called in to help migrant situations along the U.S.-Mexico border. However, never have they been used so far north or in such large numbers as the memo suggested.
Several U.S. cities protested against Trump's immigration policies Thursday by partaking in a "Day Without Immigrants" that encouraged immigrants to stay home and boycott work, school, opening up businesses or shopping.