White House Denies Rumors National Guard to Deploy and 'Round Up' Immigrants

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer denied an Associated Press report about the National Guard and mass deportation.

Published Feb 17, 2017

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Image Via Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock, Inc.
    Just before 9:30 AM on 17 February 2017, the Associated Press reported they had obtained a memo indicating President Trump's administration planned to deploy the National Guard to carry out large-scale deportation raids:

    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.

    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.

    Specifics included in the article pertained to the date and scope of the purported "draft" proposal:

    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 [2017]. 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.

    This report was quickly aggregated by news sources in the United States and Europe. Approximately an hour later, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer denied any such plans were in place while speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One:

    "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 also tweeted about the claim:

    Minutes before Spicer tweeted responses to the Associated Press and NPR, AP reported that the "draft memo says participating troops would be authorized 'to perform the functions of an immigration officer.'"


Burke, Garance.   "Trump Weighs Mobilizing Up To 100,000 National Guard Troops For Immigration Roundups: Memo."     Associated Press.   17 February 2017.

Talev, Margaret.   "White House Denies Trump Will Call Up National Guard for Immigrant Roundup."     Bloomberg.   17 February 2017.

Kim LaCapria is a former writer for Snopes.