We Fact-Checked AP’s Report Trump May Deploy 100,000 National Guard to Round Up ‘Unauthorized Immigrants’

The Associated Press sparked panic on Friday when it reported that President Donald Trump is currently considering a proposal to enlist up to 100,000 National Guard troops to round up “unauthorized immigrants” across the United States.

The report stated:

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.

However, White House spokesman Sean Spicer was quick to slam the report as “100% false,” and “irresponsible.”

“There is no effort at all to round up, to utilize the National Guard to round up illegal immigrants,” he told reporters.

A Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman also reportedly told NBC News: “That AP story about the National Guard is incorrect. It’s not true.”

Getty Images/Sandy Huffaker/AFP

Citing a DHS official. the Intercept’s Ryan Devereaux reported:

“…the 11-page memo was “an early draft, internal document that didn’t make it to the Secretary for consideration.”

Before long, the truth became clearer. It seems The Associated Press jumped the gun and based its report on a draft memo that was never actually considered by the White House.

CNBC reporter Steve Kopack noted that the draft memo was authored by DHS Secretary Gen. John Kelly and included a provision that would have given governors the choice to include their National Guard troops in the initiative.


Again, it was a draft memo that was reportedly never put up for serious consideration. The AP has since updated its reporting.


Vox published a copy of the full 11-page draft memo, which states:

Pursuant to Title 32 of the United States Code, State National Guard components are employees of their respective states and are under the command of their Governors when they are not in federal service. Based on their training and experience, these men and women are particularly well-suited to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law and augment border security operations by Department components.

To maximize participation by state and local jurisdictions in the enforcement of federal immigration law, I am directing the Director of ICE to engage with all willing and qualified law enforcement jurisdictions for the purpose of entering into agreements under section 287(g) of the INA.

Additionally, I am directing the Commissioner of CBP and the Director of ICE to immediately engage with the Governors of the States adjacent to the land border with Mexico and those States adjoining such border States for the purpose of entering into agreements under section 287(g) of the INA to authorize qualified members of the State National Guard, while such members are not in federal service, or qualified members of a state militia or state defense force under the command of the Governor, to perform the functions of an immigration officer in relation to the investigation, apprehension, and detention of aliens in the United States.

There doesn’t appear to be any mention of 100,000 National Guard troops in the actual draft memo.

Here’s how the AP initially broke the story:

Despite the issues with the AP’s initial reporting, it wouldn’t have been the first time a U.S. president used National Guard troops for immigration enforcement. In fact, former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama did so in 2006 and 2010, respectively.

McClatchy has more:

In 2010, former President Barack Obama said he would deploy 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border. They were sent to Arizona, Texas, California and New Mexico. While National Guard troops were not authorized to arrest people found to be crossing the border illegally, they helped staff observation posts, monitor surveillance footage and build fences.

In 2006, former President George W. Bush called up 6,000 National Guard troops to California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. They were commissioned to help install border barriers, provide training and assist with border surveillance. The deployment was designed to support Customs and Border Protection agents in “executing logistical and administrative support, operating detection systems, providing mobile communications, augmenting border-related intelligence analysis efforts, and building and installing border security infrastructure.” Operation Jump Start, as the project was called, hoped to relieve Border Patrol agents from administrative duties so they could instead focus on border security.

The report comes just one day after President Trump lambasted reporters during a press conference on Thursday.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional information.

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