Na­tional guard swoop on mi­grants not pol­icy: White House

Leaked doc­u­ment calls for un­prece­dented mil­i­tari­sa­tion of im­mi­gra­tion en­force­ment

Cape Breton Post - - WORLD -

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is con­sid­er­ing a pro­posal to mo­bi­lize as many as 100,000 Na­tional Guard troops to round up unau­tho­rized 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.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the AP re­port was “100 per cent not true’’ and “ir­re­spon­si­ble.’’ ‘’There is no ef­fort at all to uti­lize the Na­tional Guard to round up unau­tho­rized im­mi­grants,” he said.

Gover­nors in the 11 states would have a choice whether to have their guard troops par­tic­i­pate, ac­cord­ing to the memo, writ­ten by U.S. Home­land Se­cu­rity Sec­re­tary John Kelly, a re­tired four-star Ma­rine gen­eral.

While Na­tional Guard per­son­nel have been used to as­sist with im­mi­gra­tion-re­lated mis­sions on the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der be­fore, they have never been used as broadly or as far north.

The memo is ad­dressed to the then-act­ing heads of U.S. Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment and U.S. Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion. It would serve as guid­ance to im­ple­ment the wide- rang­ing ex­ec­u­tive or­der on im­mi­gra­tion and bor­der se­cu­rity that Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump signed Jan. 25. Such memos are rou­tinely is­sued to sup­ple­ment ex­ec­u­tive or­ders.

Also dated Jan. 25, the draft memo says par­tic­i­pat­ing troops would be au­tho­rized “to per­form the func­tions of an im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cer in re­la­tion to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, ap­pre­hen­sion and de­ten­tion of aliens in the United States.’’ It de­scribes how the troops would be acti- vated un­der a re­vived state-fed­eral part­ner­ship pro­gram, and states that per­son­nel would be au­tho­rized to con­duct searches and iden­tify and ar­rest any unau­tho­rized im­mi­grants.

Re­quests to the White House and the Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity for com­ment and a sta­tus re­port on the pro­posal were not an­swered.

The draft doc­u­ment has cir­cu­lated among DHS staff over the last two weeks. As re­cently as Fri­day, staffers in sev­eral dif­fer­ent of­fices re­ported dis­cus­sions were un­der­way.

If im­ple­mented, the im­pact could be 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.

Use of Na­tional Guard troops would greatly in­crease the num­ber of im­mi­grants tar­geted in one of Trump’s ex­ec­u­tive or­ders last month, which ex­panded the def­i­ni­tion of who could be con­sid­ered a crim­i­nal and there­fore a po­ten­tial tar­get for de­por­ta­tion. That or­der also al­lows im­mi­gra­tion agents to pri­or­i­tize re­mov­ing any­one who has “com­mit­ted acts that con­sti­tute a charge­able crim­i­nal of­fence.’’

AP PHOTO

U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump waves in front of the Boe­ing 787 Dream­liner while vis­it­ing the Boe­ing South Carolina fa­cil­ity in North Charleston, S.C., Fri­day.

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