Donald Trump’s administration is considering mobilising as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorised immigrants, it has been reported.
The Associated Press obtained a draft memo that calls for the unprecedented militarisation of the US immigration enforcement. But if implemented, governors in 11 states included in the draft memo would have final say on how many troops are actually deployed.
The draft memo, written by Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, includes four states that border Mexico – Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California – but extends to seven contiguous states – Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and Oregon.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer denied the report as “100 per cent false” on Twitter, but could not say that the subject was never a topic of discussion within 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. “It is not a White House document.”
The acting press secretary for the DHS also denied the report, saying: “The Department is not considering mobilising the National Guard.”
But it remains unclear whether the White House will carry out this order as reported, as the administration has become notorious for attempting to discredit news stories that cast a unfavourable light on the President, writing them off as “fake”.
“You get five different answers on controversial issues depending on who you ask at [the White House]. It’s hard to tell who’s in charge and in the know,” said Texas Rep Joaquin Castro, who criticised the draft memo as “mass deportation”.
Earlier, Mr Castro said that it was “hard not to conclude that President Trump has started his mass deportation plan” after attending a meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.