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US Homeland Security memo: Deploy 100000 National Guard troops to round up immigrants

US Homeland Security memo: Deploy 100,000 National Guard troops to round up immigrants

By Eric London
18 February 2017

The Associated Press on Friday published a memo by the Trump administration s Homeland Security secretary, retired Gen. John Kelly, proposing the deployment of 100,000 National Guard troops to carry out the president s January 25 executive order mandating an escalation of the detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants. The front page of the 11-page memo reads From: John Kelly. It recommends that the governors of 11 states in the South and along the Pacific Coast be instructed to mobilize their state National Guards for the purpose of perform[ing] the functions of an immigration officer in relation to the investigation, apprehension, and detention of aliens in the United States. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the AP report was irresponsible and 100 percent not true. But only hours later, a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) told AP anonymously that the document existed and had been drawn up by the DHS.

Spicer then claimed that it was not a White House document, and DHS sources said the memo was not presented to President Trump. Spicer added that there was presently no effort at all to utilize the National Guard to round up unauthorized immigrants. However, Spicer did not deny that the memo was discussed within the Trump administration as a possible course of action. Nor did he state that its proposals would not be considered in the future. This date of the Kelly memo is January 25, and its first sentence declares its purpose to be the implementation of a January 20 executive order. Since no immigration executive order was issued on January 20, inauguration day, it is likely that Kelly s memo was a response to an earlier draft of the anti-immigrant executive order that was announced and signed by Trump on January 25. This would indicate that Kelly s proposal was discussed prior to the issuance of the final order on January 25.

If implemented, the memorandum would require the de facto if not de jure imposition of martial law in cities as far north as Portland, Oregon and as far east as New Orleans, Louisiana. Under the terms of the memorandum, the National Guard could be deployed to all states that touch the Mexican border, as well as the states adjoining those border states. In all, these include Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. The fact that such a memo would even be submitted and discussed at the highest levels of the government is a warning to the entire working class, native-born as well as immigrant. It lifts the veil on preparations for state violence on a massive scale to suppress domestic opposition to the ruling class policies of war and social reaction. Though the memorandum does not include specific instructions on how deportations are to be carried out, the proposal to deploy 100,000 soldiers across 11 states makes clear that what is being prepared is a crackdown of unprecedented scope and brutality. In his election campaign, Trump pledged to deport at least 3 million undocumented immigrants, mainly from Mexico and Latin America.

The executive order issued on January 25 calls for a huge buildup of the border patrol, the construction of new detention centers near the Mexican border, the construction of a wall along the entirety of the border, and an expansion of the dragnet to include virtually all undocumented immigrants. Already last week, extensive raids were carried out around the country resulting in the detention and deportation of hundreds of workers. President Obama earned the nickname deporter in chief for overseeing the deportation of more people than all previous presidents combined. Trump plans to put his criminal policy in the shade. The Los Angeles Times has estimated that the January 25 order makes some 8 million undocumented workers subject to deportation. Kelly s proposal entails a military operation of wartime proportions. In terms of savagery and scale, the operation would far surpass the imposition of the pre-Civil War Fugitive Slave Act and the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War Two.

Armed military detachments would likely set up barricades and checkpoints in working class districts. Those trying to escape to states outside the zones of deployment would be hunted down and jailed. Entire sections of Los Angeles, Houston, Phoenix, Denver, San Diego and other cities would be placed under military occupation. Heavily armed soldiers would go house-to-house, breaking down doors and dragging immigrants away from their families. The thousands or perhaps millions targeted by the raids would be sent to internment camps where they would be detained indefinitely or processed for expulsion from the country. The deployment of the National Guard would also serve to suppress protests against deportations, which have grown in recent weeks and spread to cities large and small. A precedent was set by Obama, under whom Democratic governors deployed the National Guard to quell protests in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014 and Baltimore, Maryland in 2015.

Whatever their tactical differences, the Democrats are complicit in Trump s immigration policy. Democratic senators overwhelmingly supported Kelly s confirmation, voting 37-11 in favor. Senator Bernie Sanders defended his support for Kelly by proclaiming his hope that Kelly will have a moderating influence on some of the racist and xenophobic views that President Trump advocated throughout the campaign. He made this statement five days before Kelly wrote the leaked memo. Kelly s memorandum also proposes to eliminate the right to a court hearing for hundreds of thousands and possibly millions of migrants. It calls for an expansion of expedited removal proceedings to include a broad category of undocumented migrants who cannot affirmatively show that they have lived in the United States for two years. Under such proceedings, the right to appear before a judge before deportation is dispensed with. The memo claims eliminating the right to due process is necessary because of an unacceptable delay in the deportation process caused by the backlog of removal cases currently pending in immigration court. In addition, the memo proposes to send migrants back to the country through which they entered the US (almost always Mexico) while they wait for the multi-year court process to play out. These migrants would be denied the right to appear in court and be allowed to attend only via video conference. This would result in the abrogation of almost all due process rights, which attach to undocumented migrants only when they are on US soil.

The Kelly memo also attacks asylum seekers who are escaping from war, poverty and violence caused by decades of US imperialist plunder. The memo claims that the asylum process is rife with fraud and abuse, and that asylum officers should release applicants from detention only if the alien has a significant possibility of establishing eligibility for asylum, based on established legal authority, an arbitrary standard that will be difficult for migrants to prove, especially without an attorney present. The memo also proposes to drastically reduce the social services available for unaccompanied youth migrants who make the difficult trek across the Southern desert by themselves, often at a very young age. These proposals did not emerge in a historical vacuum. They have been prepared over years in which both the Democratic and Republican parties have spearheaded a ruthless assault on immigrants. It was President Clinton who signed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 into law, while denouncing the problem of illegal immigration. All leading Democrats supported the Secure Fences Act of 2006, including senators Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Charles Schumer and Joseph Biden. In the course of more than 15 years of the war on terror, the American ruling class has sought to whip up a climate of xenophobia in an attempt to divide the working class and justify its imperialist wars around the world. The wave of protests against Trump s war on immigrants shows that this campaign has not succeeded in winning significant popular support, and that a large majority of working Americans retain a deep commitment to democratic rights.

However, the defense of the rights of immigrants and the democratic rights of the working class as a whole requires that the entire reactionary framework of the official debate on immigration policy be rejected. Both Trump and his establishment critics, Republicans and Democrats, take the position that so-called illegal immigrants are criminals and that foreign-born workers must be prevented from entering the country by means of militarized borders and armies of border police.

The working class must uphold the right of all workers to live and work in the country of their choice with full citizenship rights, including the right to work and travel without fear of deportation or repression. The slogan must be open borders and the unity of workers, immigrant and native-born, in a common struggle against the capitalist system, which is the source of poverty, racism and oppression.

The author also recommends:

Stop the attacks on immigrants! For a socialist policy of open borders and full rights for all workers!
[1][11 February 2017]

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  1. ^ Stop the attacks on immigrants! For a socialist policy of open borders and full rights for all workers! (
  2. ^ comments powered by Disqus. (

Idaho governor’s office hasn’t been contacted about using Guard for immigration roundup

President Donald Trump s administration is considering mobilizing as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants, according to The Associated Press. But the Trump administration strongly denied the report Friday morning. A draft memo obtained by The Associated Press outlines a Trump administration proposal under consideration to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants. Millions of those who would be affected in 11 states live nowhere near the Mexico border.

The 11-page document[1] calls for the unprecedented militarization of immigration enforcement as far north as Portland, Oregon, and as far east as New Orleans, Louisiana. If the proposal is implemented, governors in the affected states would have final approval on whether troops under their control participate. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that the AP report is not true.

That is 100 percent not true. It is false. 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, Spicer said.

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.

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. Idaho is not among the 11 states listed, though three of its neighbors are: Oregon, Nevada and Utah. Idaho Gov. Butch Otter is in the Magic Valley Friday to review weather-related damage and flooded sites. His office said they had heard nothing about using the National Guard and couldn t comment further. 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. The draft document has circulated among Department of Homeland Security staff over the last two weeks. As recently as Friday, staffers in several different offices reported discussions were underway, according to the AP.

A DHS official says memo was “a very early, pre decisional draft… and was never seriously considered by the Department”

— Dorey Scheimer (@DoreyScheimer) February 17, 2017[2]

If implemented, the impact could be significant. Nearly one-half of the 11.1 million people residing in the U.S. without authorization live in the 11 states, according to Pew Research Center estimates based on 2014 Census data.

[Trump wouldn t be the first president to mobilize National Guard for immigration enforcement] [3]

Trump campaigned on building a wall between the United States and Mexico (paid for by Mexico) and stepping up deportations for undocumented immigrants already in the country. In November of 2015, then-candidate Trump told MSNBC s Morning Joe [4] that there would be a deportation force to deport the 11 million unauthorized immigrants.

You re going to have a deportation force, and you re going to do it humanely, Trump said. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) said during a townhall meeting on CNN in January[5] that there would be no deportation force.

If you re worried some deportation force is coming and knocking on your door this year, don t worry about that, Ryan said. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have been conducting enforcement raids[6] around the country in recent days.

The crackdown on illegal criminals is merely the keeping of my campaign promise. Gang members, drug dealers & others are being removed!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 12, 2017[7]

On Thursday, many protesters participated in a Day Without Immigrants, to protest Trump s policies and proposals. Schools and restaurants across the country closed in support. National Guard soldiers can be deployed by either the governor of their state of the president of the United States, according to[8]. The Guard responds to domestic emergencies, overseas combat missions, counterdrug efforts, reconstruction missions and more, according to the site. In 2006, President George W. Bush called for up to 6,000 National Guard members to assist with surveillance, installing fences and vehicle barriers in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas to support the U.S. Customs and Border Protection s effect as part of Operation Jump Start.

In 2014, Texas Gov. Rick Perry now Trump s nominee for energy secretary sent 1,000 National Guard soldiers to the Rio Grande Valley to help protect the border.

You are now the tip of the spear in protecting Americans from these cartels and gangs, Perry said, according to the San Antonio News-Express[9]. The president signed an executive order titled Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements[10] on Jan. 25, just days after taking office.

Aliens who illegally enter the United States without inspection or admission present a significant threat to national security and public safety. Such aliens have not been identified or inspected by Federal immigration officers to determine their admissibility to the United States, the executive order reads. The recent surge of illegal immigration at the southern border with Mexico has placed a significant strain on Federal resources and overwhelmed agencies charged with border security and immigration enforcement, as well as the local communities into which many of the aliens are placed. The executive order called for the building of detention facilities as well as the wall.

The executive order is distinct from Trump s order suspending refugee resettlement and barring immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. Courts have stayed the ban in that executive order, and Trump is planning to issue a new one next week.


  1. ^ The 11-page document (
  2. ^ February 17, 2017 (
  3. ^ [Trump wouldn t be the first president to mobilize National Guard for immigration enforcement] (
  4. ^ Trump told MSNBC s Morning Joe (
  5. ^ said during a townhall meeting on CNN in January (
  6. ^ have been conducting enforcement raids (
  7. ^ February 12, 2017 (
  8. ^ according to (
  9. ^ according to the San Antonio News-Express (
  10. ^ Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements (

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