The White House and Department of Homeland Security threw cold water on an Associated Press report that detailed a draft version of a memo that suggested mobilizing up to 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorised immigrants.
Press secretary Sean Spicer characterised the Friday report as “100% not true.”
“It is false,” Spicer said, according to a pool report. “It is irresponsible to be saying this.”
“There is no effort at all to round up, to utilise the National Guard to round up illegal immigrants,” he continued. “I wish you guys had asked before you tweeted.”
An AP reporter, responding to Spicer’s remarks, said the wire service asked the administration for comment multiple times prior to publishing, the pool report stated.
Spicer did not categorically state the proposal was never discussed at any level of the administration, according to the pool report.
“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 Department of Homeland Security also said the AP report was “incorrect.”
“It’s incorrect,” department spokesperson David Lapan told Business Insider in an email. “The Department is not considering mobilizing the National Guard for immigration enforcement”
The story first began gaining traction on Twitter after the AP tweeted: “BREAKING: Trump administration considers mobilizing as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorised immigrants.”
Soon after, Trump administration officials began saying the report was inaccurate.
In a lengthy story, the AP detailed what it said was an 11-page draft memo the organisation had obtained. The AP wrote that the draft document was circulating among Department of Homeland Security staff over the past two weeks, and it was authored by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.
The AP wrote:
“The Trump administration is considering a proposal to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorised immigrants, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico border, according to a draft memo obtained by The Associated Press.”
“The 11-page document calls for the unprecedented militarization of immigration enforcement as far north as Portland, Oregon, and as far east as New Orleans, Louisiana.”
“Four states that border on Mexico are 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.”
The Trump administration has focused on immigration policy early in its term of office. Trump signed two prominent executive orders related to immigration in his first days in office, and, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has stepped up enforcement in the early days of his presidency.
Natasha Bertrand contributed reporting.
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