So is this real, or a Trump distraction?
So far, it's just a circulated memo. But if real, this is a "Thus it begins" moment. AP via Bloomberg:
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.
While National Guard personnel have been used to assist with immigration-related missions on the U.S.-Mexico border before, they have never been used as broadly or as far north.
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. 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.
Requests to the White House and the Department of Homeland Security for comment and a status report on the proposal were not answered.
This post will be updated as news unfolds....
UPDATE: Sean Spicer says story is "100% false".
Yet the story is not whether troops are being called out, but if DHS and the White House are in discussions as to whether this should happen. Reminder: AP has the memo in hand. (And Spicer isn't denying its existence, either)
UPDATE 2: Member of Congress weighing in:
UPDATE 3: Takeaway: No one trusts Sean Spicer, no one, and this was a significant enough idea that DHS was instructed to write up a plan.
UPDATE 4: Slate points out that Pence and Ryan both denied there would ever be a deportation force, and asks whether "we should take Friday morning’s denials about as seriously as we took Pence and Ryan’s claims about the deportation force before Trump entered the Oval Office."