Trump May Use National Guard For Mass Round Up Of Undocumented Immigrants

The Associated Press (AP) has obtained a copy of a memo drafted by the Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly, that outlines a plan to use the National Guard in round-ups of undocumented immigrants. Jack Gillum of AP released the memo on Document Cloud. The 11-page document can be read in its entirety by clicking this link. The utilization of the National Guard is discussed in Section D on page 3.

The AP calls the proposal an “unprecedented militarization of immigration enforcement.” The range of the militarization would involve 11 states, reaching as far north as Portland, Oregon, and east to New Orleans, Louisiana.

As justification, Kelly cites a provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) that President Obama stopped implementing in 2015 because it was used extensively by law enforcement to racially profile residents of the United States. One of the worst perpetrators of this outrage against the immigrant community was Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona.

The memo reads:

This grant of authority, known as the 287(g) Program, has been a highly successful force multiplier that authorizes state or local law enforcement personnel to perform all law enforcement functions specified in section 287(a) of the INA, including the authority to investigate, identify, apprehend, arrest, detain, and conduct searches of an alien for the purposes of enforcing the immigration laws.

All states bordering Mexico — California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas — as well as all states bordering those states — Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas — would be asked to enter agreements to mobilize their National Guard units for this purpose. Kelly does acknowledge a significant limitation :

State National Guard components are employees of their respective states and are under the command of their Governors when they are not in federal service.

So use of those “components” would entail governors entering partnerships with the federal government, if Trump doesn’t decide to mobilize them to serve the national interest. It’s a given that some of these states aren’t going to enter any such partnership — Oregon, Colorado, New Mexico, and California at a minimum. All four have declared that they are sanctuary states. One has to wonder if the administration is pushing for a civil war by driving the divisions in this country so deep.

Trump spokesman Sean Spicer denied, of course, that any such plan is under consideration. But Trump and his cohorts deny a lot of things — including reality. On Friday, Spicer told the press:

It is irresponsible to be saying this. There is no effort at all to round up, to utilise the National Guard to round up illegal immigrants.

But, of course, there obviously has been an effort to round up the undocumented, if not yet by utilizing the National Guard.

Republican governors in the affected states have begun weighing in on the possibility. While some have chosen to emphasize that they have not yet been contacted by the administration, or that the White House has denied the plan will be implemented, others have made their opposition clear.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said:

I would have concerns about the utilization of National Guard resources for immigration enforcement with the current deployment responsibilities our guardsmen have overseas … In Arkansas, I believe it would be too much of a strain on our National Guard personnel.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s comments were more emphatic and to the point:

While  we cannot speculate as to what may be requested via official channels in the future, we have serious constitutional concerns about activating the National Guard to provide the mentioned services and the potential financial impacts of doing so.

It is somewhat comforting to hear that there is still a Republican official in this country who is concerned about the Constitution.

White House denials aside, the AP reports that the proposal was discussed by the Department of Homeland Security as recently as last Friday. What Sean Spicer didn’t say about the proposal is probably more telling than what he did say. He refused to deny that the proposal had ever been discussed by the administration.

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) was one of only two Hispanics allowed into a meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Thursday. He found that meeting disturbing in its implications that a mass roundup is already underway. Of this latest possible measure, Castro said:

When you ask you get five different answers on controversial issues from the White House so it’s hard to know what is actual policy. It’s not just undocumented people who are impacted, it’s the lives of their parents and children and friends as well – there’s a lot of anxiety around.

 Americans have been put on high alert by the memo — watch for the truth to unfold rather than listening to the protestations of an untruthful administration

Feature image, U.S. Army National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Paul Wade.

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Deborah Montesano

Deborah Montesano is a longtime political activist and blogger. She learned to fight against impossible odds by living for years in Arizona, but recently relocated to the more progressive-friendly city of Portland, Oregon. Find her on Facebook at facebook.com/thepoliticali/ or on Twitter @thepoliticali_1.

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