The Associated Press on Friday morning revealed that sources inside the Department of Homeland Security had leaked a “draft memo” outlining a National Guard operation to round up illegal immigrants.
The memo lists a request for 100,000 National Guard troops who would be deployed across all 50 states to execute current warrants for known undocumented immigrants.
The memo is designed to follow an executive order, issued by the President, authorizing mass roundups and raids, and piggybacks on a DHS program that operated from 2006 until September of 2015, identifying “potentially removable aliens” who had interactions with law enforcement.
On social media, the memo immediately drew comparisons to Nazi Gestapo raids because nearly everything related to Donald Trump draws Nazi comparisons—but this incident was decidedly troubling.
Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King said that the DHS memo was “comparable to the Nazis rounding up of Jews.” Others called the memo, “chilling,” and called the National Guard a “Nazi deportation force.” Some, misunderstanding that the order was not yet in effect, called on anti-Trump activists to “stop the Gestapo march now.”
Both White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and DHS spokespeople denied that President Trump was seriously considering implementing the draft memo.
“100% false. There is no effort to use the National Guard to round up,” the White House said in an email to reporters. A separate DHS statement read, “The Department is not considering mobilizing the National Guard.”
Several “draft” memos and executive orders have leaked over the last few weeks, including an order limiting LGBT anti-discrimination protections. Few, if any, of these draft orders have been implemented (the LGBT order was halted, reportedly by Ivanka Trump and her husband, White House adviser Jared Kushner).
This draft order might be even more difficult than others to implement.
Such an extreme measure would require the cooperation of 11 governors from Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah—many of whom are Republican but not all of whom are friendly. The National Guard is a state-based force and not part of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement or the Border Patrol.
The Huffington Post reached out to all 11 governors’ offices and found that none had been contacted by the Trump administration and most had “reservations” about the plan.