An alarming report from the Associated Press — saying the “Trump administration considered a proposal to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants” — has now been stridently denied by the White House as “false.”
With Fake News accusations so prevalent, it would be simple to chalk the plan and accusation up to the mundane — but this particular incident has several strange details making it anything but typical.
Citing an 11-page document titled “Implementing the President’s Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements Policies,” appearing to be issued by Department of Homeland Security Secretary General John Kelly and obtained by the AP, the Trump administration deliberated deploying “as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico border,” and the document further “calls for the unprecedented militarization of immigration enforcement as far north as Portland, Oregon, and as far east as New Orleans, Louisiana.”
But, despite claims the AP discussed the document in question with unnamed ‘staffers’ at the Department of Homeland Security, White House spokesman Sean Spicer balked, telling the press aboard Air Force One within minutes of the article being published,
“That is 100 percent not true. It is false. It is irresponsible to be saying this.”
He added, “There is no effort at all to round up, to utilize the National Guard to round up illegal immigrants.”
According to the original AP article,
“The memo was addressed to the then-acting heads of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It would have served 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 activated under a revived state-federal partnership program, and states that personnel would be authorized to conduct searches and identify and arrest any unauthorized immigrants.”
Although the AP did not originally link to or show an image of the document, it has since been published — but the status of information divulged, whether or not the plan has been considered or even brought to President Trump’s attention, remains unknown. Per the memorandum, addressed to officials in Immigration and Border Patrol, Kelly states:
“I am directing the Commissioner of CBP and the Director of ICE to immediately engage with the Governors of the States adjacent to the land border with Mexico and to those states adjoining such border States for the purpose of entering into agreements of section 287(g) of the INA to authorize qualified members of the state National Guard, while such members are not in federal service, or qualified members of a state militia or state defense force under the command of the Governor, to perform the functions of an immigration officer in relation to the apprehension, investigation and detention of aliens in the United States.”
Without further elaboration on context, the memorandum and the AP’s report present quite the quagmire for trying to parse who’s actually telling the truth — or determining if there might be dissension between arms of the government.
Spicer insisted, “It is not a White House document” — as it indeed appears to be from DHS — and admitted, “I don’t know what could potentially be out there, but I know that there is no effort to do what is potentially suggested.”
“A DHS official described the document as a very early draft that was not seriously considered and never brought to the secretary for approval,” the AP reported originally.
Spicer also did not make clear why the White House would not be privy to a putative DHS plan this massive in scale — the operation would allegedly have involved 11 states and their respective National Guards.
“Spokespeople for the governors of nine of the states either declined to comment or said it was premature to discuss whether they would participate. Representatives for Texas and Arkansas did not immediately respond to the AP,” the outlet reports.
But where this really gets weird is that, despite Spicer’s categorical denial the memorandum came from the White House, he did not assert a similar plan hasn’t been considered. Further,
“A White House aide confirmed to DailyMail.com Friday morning that the idea ‘has been discussed,’ but wouldn’t say whether a plan has been formalized or recommended to the president.
“DailyMail.com’s White House source said the idea is to hasten the removal from the U.S. of ‘criminal aliens’ like those Trump railed against during one campaign stop after another last year.”
Of course, without the Daily Mail naming its source, that information is also impossible to confirm with certainty.
Weirder still, DHS also disputes the contents of the memorandum and the AP’s report.
Department of Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan told the media Friday — shortly before a copy of the document became public — “It’s incorrect. The Department is not considering mobilizing the National Guard for immigration enforcement.”
Someone is lying.
If DHS isn’t considering mobilizing the National Guard to act as immigration police, then the memo might have been created and abandoned — but officials, besides the unnamed person who spoke to the AP, aren’t saying that.
Spicer said the document didn’t emanate from the White House, and flatly denied the plan to mobilize the Guard — then surreptitiously contradicted himself, intimating such a procedure had indeed been deliberated.
It’s a mess — by design.
This is how propaganda works. It deceives. Instills doubt. Creates chaos, and wreaks havoc on the dissemination of fact through a free press. Once people question information on such a wide scale — and rightly so, given deceitful reports published regularly now by the corporate press — then everything opens to interpretation, including the truth.