US National Guard to nab immigrants in immigration raids: Report
The administration of US President Donald Trump has considered mobilizing thousands of National Guard troops to round up millions of unauthorized immigrants, according to a new report.
The unprecedented plan to militarize the efforts to curb illegal immigration even included states that were not any close to the border with Mexico, The Associated Press reported Friday, citing a Homeland Security draft memo.
Besides the four states of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, which have border with Mexico, the 11-page document encompasses Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.
Written by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, the memo also authorized the governors of these 11 states to mobilize their National Guard forces at will.
Department staffers said that the proposal had been discussed as recently as last Friday, according to the report.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer denied the report, calling the claim “irresponsible.”
“That is 100 percent not true. It is false. It is irresponsible to be saying this,” he said on board the Marine One helicopter before flying to Maryland with Maryland. “There is no effort at all to round up, to utilize the National Guard to round up illegal immigrants.”
The DHS gave a similar response in an email to the Guardian.
The memo has circulated department staff over the past two weeks, with some of them indicating as recent as last Friday that discussions in this regard were underway.
The National Guard has carried out immigration missions on the border with Mexico. However, they have never operated as far north as Portland, Oregon, and as far east as Louisiana.
This is significant because Pew Research Center estimates based on 2014 census data show that about half of the 11.1 million illegal immigrants residing in the US live in the 11 states.
Using National Guard significantly increases the number of people targeted in immigration raids carried out under Trump latest executive order, which allowed immigration agents to go after anyone who has “committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense.”
Earlier this week, the DHS announced that nearly 700 people were arrested in its immigration raids, claiming that around 75 percent of them were convicted felons.