Homeland Security proposed mass deportations in 11 states in a memo leaked through the Associated Press yesterday, while the Trump administration claims it was rejected as an ‘early draft’
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said there was “no effort at all to utilize the National Guard to round up unauthorized immigrants” despite the leaked memo from the Department of Homeland Security reaching the media. DHS staffers had said on Thursday that they were told by colleagues in two DHS departments that the proposal was still being considered as recently as Feb. 10. The memo gives insight into what the Trump administration is attempting as part of President Trump’s promise to stop illegal immigration in the United States.
Congressmen on both sides of the aisle have been critical of the White House after Donald Trump’s executive orders regarding illegal immigration in late January and this memo did not do anything to quell the outrage both in congress and from the public. “Regardless of the White House’s response, this document is an absolutely accurate description of the disturbing mindset that pervades the Trump administration when it comes to our nation’s immigrants,” said U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.)
Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas said the National Guard did not have the resources to carry out such a task, while two other Republican governors, Gary Herbert of Utah and Brian Sandoval of Nevada, condemned the proposal as “unconstitutional” and “an inappropriate use of guard resources”, respectively. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) called the immigration efforts of the White House “offensive”, saying it’s “inability to manage its own message and policy” was causing chaos.
Spicer’s comments are being called out as a lie by critics of the Trump administration throughout the press and social media with the recognition of Trump’s campaign promise to end illegal immigration by any means necessary, even using terms such as “round up” when being interviewed by 60 Minutes in 2015, saying
“We’re rounding ’em up in a very humane way, in a very nice way. And they’re going to be happy because they want to be legalized. And, by the way, I know it doesn’t sound nice. But not everything is nice.”
The Associate Press said they reached out to Spicer before releasing the document, but had not heard back from him until after the document had been released and caused an uproar.
This wouldn’t be the first time the National Guard was used to enforce immigration law, but would have been the first time it was used so broadly. If implemented, the impact could have been significant. Nearly one-half of the 11.1 million people residing in the U.S. without authorization live in the 11 states, according to Pew Research Center estimates based on 2014 Census data.