The White House shot down reports Friday that the administration was considering using the National Guard to round up illegal immigrants, saying that is not a part of President Trump’s plans.
“There is no effort at all to round up, to utilize the National Guard to round up illegal immigrants,” press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters, responding to an Associated Press report.
He said he couldn’t rule out that there was no discussion of the option anywhere in the administration, but said it is not something they are considering.
“I don’t know what could potentially be out there, but I know that there is no effort to do what is potentially suggested,” he said.
The Associated Press said it obtained an 11-page draft memo by Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly that included using up to 100,000 guard troops, in what the news agency called an “unprecedented militarization of immigration enforcement.”
The memo called for enlisting guard troops from up to 11 states ranging from Louisiana to Oregon. Governors would have had the option to join in, the news report said.
Troops would be charged with immigration enforcement powers, the document said.
National Guard troops have been used in the past to aid Border Patrol agents, particularly during the Bush administration when they were put to use for intelligence-gathering and infrastructure-building along the U.S.-Mexico divide.
But they were not empowered to arrest illegal immigrants. Border Patrol agents at the time complained that they were even told they had to guard the National Guard troops. They dubbed their duties “the nanny patrol.”
Texas has ordered its National Guard to the border in recent years to try to stem the surge of illegal immigrants from Central America.