Earlier today the Associated Press ran a facially ridiculous story about a plan to use National Guard troops to round up illegal aliens. This is the tweet:
BREAKING: Trump administration considers mobilizing as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants.
— The Associated Press (@AP) February 17, 2017
Read it carefully.
The obvious fallacy here is that it implies that the National Guard troops will be federalized (note the word mobilized) for this project. While a governor can use the National Guard for most anything he wishes so long as it remains paid for by the state and under state control, once National Guard troops are mobilized they are de facto and de jure federal troops and indistinguishable from the Regular Army. The obvious legal barrier to this plan is the Posse Comitatus Act which forbids the use of federal troops in a law enforcement role.
This is the lede from the story:
The Trump administration considered a proposal to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico border, according to a draft memo obtained by The Associated Press.
Staffers in the Department of Homeland Security said the proposal had been discussed as recently as last Friday.
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 were 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.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Friday the document was “not a White House document.”
“There is no effort to do what is potentially suggested,” he said. Spicer called the AP report “100 percent not true, adding that there was “no effort at all to utilize the National Guard to round up unauthorized immigrants.”
After some delay the AP finally produced the actual memo. This is a screen grab of the relevant portion:
I'm trying to imagine scenario where what AP did in reporting "draft immigration EO" isn't wild, flagrant, motivated malpractice. Failing.
— Jeff B, fightin' the COVID one bootleg at a time (@EsotericCD) February 17, 2017
The memo clearly refers to the 287(g) program. It is a law that was enacted in 1996 that allows certain state officials to act as immigration enforcement officers once they’ve received the requisite training and if they work under the supervision of an immigration officer. There is no mention of “100,000” National Guard troops. There is no mention of “mobilization.” In fact the memo clearly states just the opposite:
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
The memo, to the extent it even mentions the National Guard, talks about them in the context of a voluntary expansion of a 20-year-old program.
Okay I've read the DHS memo and my provisional take is that @seanmdav's harsh reaction to AP coverage was right and mine was wrong.
— Ross Douthat (@DouthatNYT) February 17, 2017
What the AP did on this was simply manufacture a bullsh** story out of whole cloth. Their story misrepresents the memo it purports to report on and simply makes some stuff up. And yet the media continues to try to play the victim despite.