Feds mulled National Guard for immigration roundups
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Feds mulled National Guard for immigration roundups

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Members of the National Guard patrolled along the Rio Grande, in Feb. 2015, at the Texas-Mexico border in Rio Grande City, Texas.

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The Trump administration considered 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.

Staffers in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said they had been told by colleagues in two DHS departments that the proposal was still being considered as recently as Feb. 10. A DHS official described the document as a very early draft that was not seriously considered and never brought to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly for approval.

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. The document can be accessed at http://apne.ws/2l1Dj0k

Four states that border on Mexico were 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 today the document was “not a White House document.”

“There is no effort to do what is potentially suggested,” he said. Spicer called the AP report “100 percent not true,” adding that there was “no effort at all to utilize the National Guard to round up unauthorized immigrants.”

The AP had sought comment from the White House beginning Thursday and DHS earlier today and had not received a response from either.

Governors in the 11 states would have had a choice whether to have their guard troops participate, according to the memo, which bears the name of 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 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.

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.

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 offense.”

Under current rules, even if the proposal had been implemented, there would not be immediate mass deportations. Those with existing deportation orders could be sent back to their countries of origin without additional court proceedings. But deportation orders generally would be needed for most other unauthorized immigrants.

The troops would not be nationalized, remaining under state control.

Spokespeople for the governors of 10 of the states either declined to comment or said it was premature to discuss whether they would participate.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said his state had not had any contact about the proposal, but added, “I would have concerns about the utilization of National Guard resources for immigration enforcement. I believe it would be too much of a strain on our National Guard personnel.”

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said she was “glad to hear” that DHS said they never seriously considered the draft memo,” according to her press secretary, Chris Pair. He said Brown will fight to keep Oregon “a welcoming and inclusive place for all Oregonians, regardless of heritage, religion, or immigration status.”

The proposal would have extended the federal-local partnership program that President Barack Obama’s administration began scaling back in 2012 to address complaints that it promoted racial profiling.

The 287(g) program, which Trump included in his immigration executive order, gives local police, sheriff’s deputies and state troopers the authority to assist in the detection of immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally as a regular part of their law enforcement duties on the streets and in jails.

The draft memo also mentions other items included in Trump’s executive order, including the hiring of an additional 5,000 border agents, which needs financing from Congress, and his campaign promise to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

The signed order contained no mention of the possible use of state National Guard troops.

According to the draft memo, the militarization effort was to be proactive, specifically empowering Guard troops to solely carry out immigration enforcement, not as an add-on the way local law enforcement is used in the program.

Allowing Guard troops to operate inside non-border states also would go far beyond past deployments.

In addition to responding to natural or man-made disasters or for military protection of the population or critical infrastructure, state Guard forces have been used to assist with immigration-related tasks on the U.S.-Mexico border, including the construction of fences.

In the mid-2000s, President George W. Bush twice deployed Guard troops on the border to focus on non-law enforcement duties to help augment the Border Patrol as it bolstered its ranks. And in 2010, then-Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer announced a border security plan that included Guard reconnaissance, aerial patrolling and military exercises.

In July 2014, then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry ordered 1,000 National Guard troops to the border when the surge of migrant children fleeing violence in Central America overwhelmed U.S. officials responsible for their care. The Guard troops’ stated role on the border at the time was to provide extra sets of eyes but not make arrests.

Bush initiated the federal 287(g) program — named for a section of a 1996 immigration law — to allow specially trained local law enforcement officials to participate in immigration enforcement on the streets and check whether people held in local jails were in the country illegally. ICE trained and certified roughly 1,600 officers to carry out those checks from 2006 to 2015.

The memo describes the program as a “highly successful force multiplier” that identified more than 402,000 “removable aliens.”

But federal watchdogs were critical of how DHS ran the program, saying it was poorly supervised and provided insufficient training to officers, including on civil rights law. Obama phased out all the arrest power agreements in 2013 to instead focus on deporting recent border crossers and immigrants in the country illegally who posed a safety or national security threat.

Trump’s immigration strategy emerges as detentions at the nation’s southern border are down significantly from levels seen in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Last year, the arrest tally was the fifth-lowest since 1972. Deportations of people living in the U.S. illegally also increased under the Obama administration, though Republicans criticized Obama for setting prosecution guidelines that spared some groups from the threat of deportation, including those brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

Last week, ICE officers arrested more than 680 people around the country in what Kelly said were routine, targeted operations; advocates called the actions stepped-up enforcement under Trump.

Read draft memo here: http://apne.ws/2l1Dj0k

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    • Klastri, when are you going to self deport yourself? Trump is not your president anyway so move back home to Mexico where you and your anti-Trump people can enjoy a nice Margarita in Acapulco.

      • Ronin006 – You can’t seem to get anything right. I’m not a former lawyer, as I’ve explained to you several times – I’m still practicing. And with regard to stress? Since Trump took office, I’ve been having the time of my life! I worked at Dulles Airport for more than 24 straight hours filing HC writs and loving it like a first year law student! And then went back the next day after getting a couple hours of sleep at an airport hotel. Thousands of lawyers are loving this whole fiasco, because we’re getting the chance of a lifetime to throw truckloads of sand in the gears of the Trump administration! There aren’t many thing more invigorating than using the Judiciary against him!

        I’m back on Maui now, but heading off to Texas tomorrow to meet up with about 100 other lawyers who are going to collectively make life a living hell for people who wants to deport folks without due process. There aren’t enough judges or courthouses to handle the load!

        This is great!

    • Long overdue. Time to take the trash out even no matter how drastic it must get. Laws are in place and violation of the laws results is action to protect the citizens. The illegals are not peaceful people they burn the American flag and spit on it in disgust, destroying property and flaunting their Mexican flags on national TV in the USA. They need the military to show them we don’t play games when it comes to protecting our country. Same goes for North Korea or any other country with motives to destroy our country and kill it’s people.

  • This is horrifying. The national guard should be used in the event of war or disasters. They are not trained to do police work. Will they be tasked to round up “all”? And just “who” will they round up? If I am not white enough? If I cannot prove my ancestors came over on the Mayflower? This kind of thinking smacks of martial law, the kind of society we see in Russia. Just beat everybody into submission. Sickening.

  • People reacting negatively to the AP story about the DRAFT idea of using the National Guard to apprehend illegal immigrants have no idea about how government agencies operate. When government agencies are ordered to do anything, it is routine for staffers within the agencies to develop several possible courses of action, each with its advantages and disadvantages, for consideration by decision makers. Those that appear to be sound work their way up the chain with some getting rejected along the way leaving a few of the best ideas for consideration by agency heads. What we have in this particular case is a knee jerk reaction to a DRAFT idea, one of many ideas, developed by DHS staffers. As reported in the story, it was “a very early draft that was not seriously considered and never brought to the secretary for approval,” yet many people, including some commenting in this forum, are reacting like it is a done deal. It is ignorance run amok.

    • Yup the haters don’t bother to read , or think really. , they just rather take anything they can find out of context and
      Misrepresent it to blast out more lies.

      When a two year old runs out of real complaints they just lie down on the floor kicking and screaming …….not really even knowing what they are screaming about.

  • come to hawaii and clean up our illegal aliens, get plenty driving taxi, working in hotels, in the bars, waiting at emergency rooms, in prisons. sleeping on the streets, stinking up the islands. get rid of them

  • well lets see bush sent 6000 national guard troops to the border in 2005 and nerobama sent 1200 troops in 2010 trump has not send any troops yet and may not so AP stop with the fake news about trump sending troops to the border when he has not done it yet.