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DHS weighed National Guard for immigration roundups in Utah, 10 other states

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WASHINGTON The White House distanced itself Friday from a Department of Homeland Security draft proposal to use the National Guard in Utah and 10 other states to round up unauthorized immigrants, but lawmakers said the document offers insight into the Trump administration’s internal efforts to enact its promised crackdown on illegal immigration. Administration officials said the proposal, which called for mobilizing up to 100,000 troops in 11 states, was rejected, and would not be part of plans to carry out President Donald Trump’s aggressive immigration policy. If implemented, the National Guard idea, contained in an 11-page memo[1] obtained by The Associated Press, could have led to enforcement action against millions of immigrants living nowhere near the Mexican border. Four states that border on Mexico were included in the proposal California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas but it also encompassed seven states contiguous to those four Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert voiced concern about the memo Friday, saying it has “serious constitutional concerns” about using the Guard for such purposes. Despite the AP’s public release of the document, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said there was “no effort at all to utilize the National Guard to round up unauthorized immigrants.” A DHS official described the document as a very early draft that was not seriously considered and never brought to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly for approval. However, DHS staffers said Thursday that they had been told by colleagues in two DHS departments that the proposal was still being considered as recently as Feb. 10. DHS spokeswoman Gillian Christensen declined to say who wrote the memo, how long it had been under consideration or when it had been rejected.

The pushback from administration officials did little to quell outrage over the draft plan. Three Republican governors spoke out against the proposal, and numerous Democratic lawmakers denounced it as an overly aggressive approach to immigration enforcement.

“Neither the governor s office nor the Utah National Guard has received any official communication on this matter,” Herbert’s office said in a statement. “While we cannot speculate as to what may be requested via official channels in the future, we have serious constitutional concerns about activating the National Guard to provide the mentioned services and the potential financial impacts of doing so.”

Lt. Col. Steve Fairbourn, public affairs officer with the Utah National Guard, told the Deseret News that the military unit was aware of news coverage Friday but had received no official word about the draft memo. As such, Fairbourn said it would be inappropriate for the Utah National Guard to comment on the issue. Utah Rep. Angelo Romero, D-Salt Lake City and House minority assistant whip who represents a diverse area, called the memo “very troubling” and said she worries about the mental health of her constituents because of Trump’s approach to immigration.

“People are definitely afraid,” she said. “I think it’s problematic, and I’m hoping our governor and other elected officials in the state of Utah will say, ‘Not our National Guard.'”

“Regardless of the White House’s response, this document is an absolutely accurate description of the disturbing mindset that pervades the Trump administration when it comes to our nation’s immigrants,” said U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he would have “concerns about the utilization of National Guard resources for immigration enforcement,” believing such a program “would be too much of a strain on our National Guard personnel.”

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval questioned the legality of the plan described in the draft memo and said it would be an inappropriate use of guard resources.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said, “This administration’s complete disregard for the impact its internal chaos and inability to manage its own message and policy is having on real people’s lives is offensive.”

The AP had sought comment from the White House beginning Thursday and DHS earlier Friday and had not received a response from either. After the AP released the story, Spicer said the memo was “not a White House document” and said there was “no effort to do what is potentially suggested.”

Governors in the 11 states would have had a choice whether to have their guard troops participate, according to the memo, which bears the name of Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general. At a maximum, approximately 100,000 Army National Guard and Air National Guard personnel would be available for stateside missions in the 11 states, according to statistics and information provided by the National Guard Bureau. 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 was addressed to the then-acting heads of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It would have served as guidance to implement the wide-ranging executive order on immigration and border security that 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. If implemented, the impact could have been 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.

Contributing: McKenzie Romero, Ladd EganDHS Weighed National Guard For Immigration Roundups In Utah, 10 Other States

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References

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Security guard assaults TASC player

FRANCISTOWN: Violence forced the abandonment of a First Division North tie between Chobe United and TASC in Kasane last weekend after a security guard reportedly assaulted the visiting team s player.

Mmegi Online :: Security guard assaults TASC player

A security guard deployed by Chobe United at the game is said to have physically assaulted, Obonolo Ditshoto after a scuffle for the ball. TASC secretary, Andrew Motsamai said the scuffle ensued in the 66th-minute when his player, Ditshoto hurried to pick the ball for a throw-in and the security guard clad in a bib refused with the ball.

We were 2-0 down and it is natural that a losing team player would wrestle the ball when they feel they are delayed. Our player did just that, and when he wrestled the ball from the security guard he assaulted him with a fist and we had to ferry him to the hospital, Motsamai said. He said the team then converged in their combi and although the referee called them back after the situation normalised, the players felt vulnerable and refused to get back on the field. Motsamai said the club has informed the First Division North committee of the matter verbally and they are in the process of serving them with a formal report.

Meanwhile, Chobe United assistant manager, Johane Chanjekwa said

TASC blew the matter out of proportion just to avoid finishing the game as they were losing. He said the security guard acted innocently and he is being victimised.

He just threw the ball back to the player who was rushing to get it, but without malice, unfortunately it hit the player and he rolled like he was seriously injured. That steered confusion and his technical team was up in arms, but no one raised a hand.

I think it was just a plot to disrupt the match. We have lost at home to other teams and nothing of this nature ever happened, and why would we want to ruin the game when we are winning? he asked. We take seriously issues of security for our visitors and we don t compromise. We put very responsible people. We are disappointed at the behaviour of our counterparts.

First division north secretary general, Rapula Gaothobogwe said they are aware of what transpired and are waiting for the match report from the fourth official to verify the incident and inform an appropriate action.

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