By Margaret Talev
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer denied a report by the Associated Press that President Donald Trump was considering using the National Guard to round up undocumented immigrants.
“That is 100 percent not true. It is false,” Spicer told reporters aboard Air Force One, calling the AP’s report that Trump may call up as many as 100,000 troops “irresponsible.”
Spicer said he had no information about the origin of the report. The Associated Press cited an 11-page draft memo it said was written by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, and said that the White House and Kelly’s agency did not respond to requests for comment.
“The Department is not considering mobilizing the National Guard,” Gillian Christensen, Department of Homeland Security acting press secretary, said in an email.
The National Guard says it hasn’t seen any proposal or where it came from.
“The National Guard Bureau is aware of the reports in the media regarding a proposal to activate 100,000 troops to support immigration missions,” Defense Department spokesman Major Jamie Davis said in an email. “However, we have received no official notification to execute any activations at this time.”
The AP said the memo was dated Jan. 25, addressed to the heads of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and was intended to supplement an executive order on immigration and border security that Trump issued the same day.
The memo envisions mobilizing Guard troops in the four states on the Mexican border and the seven states contiguous to them, as far north as Oregon and east to Arkansas, the AP said. Governors would be able to opt out of the mobilization, the AP said, citing the memo.
A Homeland Security Department official who insisted on anonymity to describe internal deliberations said the memo was an early idea that was never seriously considered.