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The White House and Department of Homeland Security threw cold water on an Associated Press report that detailed a draft version of a memo that suggested mobilizing up to 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants.
Press secretary Sean Spicer characterized the Friday report as “100% not true.”
“It is false,” Spicer said, according to a pool report. “It is irresponsible to be saying this.
“There is no effort at all to round up – to utilize the National Guard to round up illegal immigrants,” he continued. “I wish you guys had asked before you tweeted.”
An AP reporter, responding to Spicer, said the wire service asked the administration for comment multiple times before publishing, the pool report said.
Spicer did not categorically say that the proposal was not discussed at any level of the administration, according to the pool report.
“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. “It is not a White House document.”
The DHS also said the AP report was “incorrect.”
David Lapan, a department spokesman, told Business Insider in an email: “The department is not considering mobilizing the National Guard for immigration enforcement.”
The DHS told another reporter that the memo was “a very early, pre-decisional draft … and was never seriously considered by the department.”
The story gained traction after the AP tweeted on Friday, “BREAKING: Trump administration considers mobilizing as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants.”
Soon after, Trump administration officials began saying the report was inaccurate.
In a lengthy story, the AP detailed what it said was an 11-page draft memo it had obtained. The AP wrote that the draft document was circulating among DHS staff over the past two weeks and that it was authored by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.
The AP wrote:
“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.”
The Trump administration has focused on immigration policy early in its term. Trump signed two prominent executive orders related to immigration in his first days in office, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested hundreds of undocumented immigrants in raids last week.
Natasha Bertrand contributed reporting.