A story released on Friday by the Associated Press accused the Trump administration of considering a proposal to mobilize one hundred thousand National Guardsmen to aid in immigration enforcement by rounding up “unauthorized immigrants, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico border.” The AP cites a draft memo they received from sources within the White House, and quotes staff members from the Department of Homeland Security when claiming the proposal was discussed as recently as last Friday.
While there is no reason to suspect that the draft memo, said to be prepared for U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, doesn’t actually exist, the suggestion that an American president could enact such a policy unilaterally speaks to an inherent lack of understanding of what such an undertaking would involve. Homeland Security officials have already gone on the offensive, debunking claims that President Trump even considered the plan, nor was it ever even presented to Secretary Kelly for approval.
In effect that would mean the memo, currently creating a fervor on social media and mainstream news outlets all over the world, was no more than eleven pages of stuff, written by some guy, and then never even elevated to the supervisory level of its own department.
While President Trump has received a great deal of criticism regarding his decision to sign an executive order limiting travel into the country from seven Muslim-majority nations and increasing the vetting required of refugees arriving on American soil, such a ban is a far leap from a nationwide militarization of immigration enforcement.
In fact, in order to accomplish such a massive mobilization, a great deal of cooperation with the local governments of each of the eleven states listed in the memo would be required. While the President has the right to Federalize National Guard units during national emergencies, it would be difficult for President Trump to justify such a move currently. Even the memo, according to the Associated Press, mandates that the governors of each of the states, which include traditionally liberal ones like California and Oregon, would have the right to choose whether or not their guardsman participate in the operation. Even traditionally conservative Arkansas Governor, Asa Hutchinson, told the Associated Press that he would be reluctant to participate if such an order were given, due to the strain it would place on his soldiers.
I would have concerns about the utilization of National Guard resources for immigration enforcement. I believe it would be too much of a strain on our National Guard personnel.” Hutchinson said. He also clarified that he has not been contacted by federal authorities regarding any such memo.
The mobilized troops themselves would remain under state control unless additional orders were produced to restructure the command element, based on the memo, and even if the rest of these moving parts were addressed, mass deportations would require further orders or legislation in order to streamline the existing process enough to permit such an operation.
That isn’t to say the idea of using the National Guard as a supplement to immigration enforcement is unheard of. President George W. Bush deployed Guard troops to do just that on two different occasions, as violence in Central America caused a surge of immigrants fleeing to the American border to overwhelm existing officials. In both circumstances, however, the National Guard was used only to supplement observation, and were not authorized to carry out arrests.
While many Americans have taken issue with President Trump’s actions regarding refugees and immigrants, this would seem to be a classic case of people choosing to believe something to be true despite the majority of facts indicating that this memo is being blown out of proportion. A draft memo, even if the president is briefed on it, is still nothing more than words on paper, and while many media outlets release stories with headlines that suggest Trump is “considering” such a strategy, even that suggests that no action has been taken.
Operation Northwoods was a proposal assembled by high ranking members of the Department of Defense and the Joints Chiefs of Staff in 1962, that suggested using false flag terrorist attacks against our own civilian and military targets in an effort to create support for military operations against Cuba and its new communist leader, Fidel Castro by placing the blame for the attacks on the island nation.
Northwoods made it significantly further than this draft memo, being signed off on by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Lyman Lemnitzer, and moving forward to the Secretary of Defense. The operation was then presented to President John F. Kennedy who simply said no, relegating the proposal to that waste basket and an an eternity on conspiracy theory blogs. John F. Kennedy, a Democrat that remains beloved by many on the Left to this day, was not accused of considering the plan simply because he was briefed on it, of course. That’s the sort of thing we reserve only for presidents we don’t like.
White House spokesman, Sean Spicer, told reporters that he couldn’t categorically claim that the memo had never been discussed by anyone in the administration, but made it clear that it was never even considered as a potential strategy.
“There is no effort at all to … utilize the National Guard to round up illegal immigrants,” he said. “This is 100 percent not true.”
A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, David Lapan, also made a statement saying that his department was “not considering mobilizing the National Guard for immigration enforcement.”
So as the White House, Homeland Security, and individual governors from the states such an order would effect each make clear statements indicating that no such plan is under consideration and no communication about such a plan has taken place between governing bodies… all we’re left with, once again, is a report saying that some guy wrote some stuff on eleven sheets of paper – and a news and social media atmosphere so eager to crucify a president, they’ve lost any semblance of concern about whether or not the story is true.
In the years to come, President Trump may indeed find himself in hot water, particularly due to the issues he continues to cultivate with the American intelligence community… but to quote the polarizing politician himself, this time, the idea of a mass militarization of immigration enforcement is nothing more than fake news.
Image courtesy of Getty Images
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