AP BOTCH: NATIONAL GUARD NOT CALLED ON ILLEGALS

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By Betsy Woodruff

Homeland Security on AP’s National Guard: ‘Absolutely Incorrect’

The Department of Homeland Security is roundly condemning an Associated Press story that broke Friday morning about considering the use of the National Guard to “round up” undocumented immigrants. The DHS says that isn’t true, and—contra the AP’s reporting—that DHS Secretary John Kelly didn’t write the draft memo. 

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“The Department is not considering mobilizing the National Guard,” said Gillian Christensen, the acting press secretary for DHS.

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A DHS official told The Daily Beast that the memo the AP cited was an early, pre-decisional draft, that Kelly never approved it, and that the department as a whole never seriously considered it.

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The AP reported that the draft memo suggested using National Guard troops to “to perform the functions of an immigration officer in relation to the investigation, apprehension and detention of aliens in the United States.”

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The AP also reported that Kelly wrote the memo, but Christensen told The Daily Beast that that is “absolutely incorrect.”

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Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, denied the AP’s report on Twitter shortly after it published.

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“Not true. 100% false,” he tweeted.

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The draft memo, which the AP published in full after putting up its initial story, discusses the possibility of using the National Guard for immigration enforcement. It directs the heads of Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to “immediately engage” with the governors of the border states and states that touch those states about using their National Guard troops for immigration enforcement. That would mean Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, California, Oregon, and Nevada.

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Sen. Kamala Harris, a California Democrat released a statement decrying the draft.

“The mere suggestion that the President would consider ordering 100,000 members of the National Guard to go door to door checking people’s document status is deeply disturbing,” she said. “The National Guard’s principal responsibility is to help people in distress after natural disasters and respond to rare instances of domestic unrest. Deploying them for any other purpose is a severe mismanagement of resources, an abuse of Executive Power, and conjures images of Japanese internment camps and mass deportations of Mexican immigrants under President Eisenhower. I challenge Republicans and Democrats, whether they are members of Congress or Governors, to condemn this plan and ensure it never sees the light of day.”

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Over the course of Trump’s first few weeks in office, numerous news outlets have reported on drafts of executive orders that have yet to be signed or implemented. The New York Times reported on a draft that would have brought back CIA black site prisons, and The Nation reported on a draft executive order that would “legalize discrimination” against LGBT people. The president has not signed executive orders on either counts.

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