On Friday, the AP reported that the Trump administration is considering plans to mobilize 100,000 National Guard troops in 11 states to round up, detain, and deport undocumented immigrants. The memo, allegedly written by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and addressed to both Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection, would militarize immigration enforcement in four states on the Mexican border and seven states contiguous to those four. Governors would be allowed to decide whether the National Guard in their state participated. The memo purports to serve as guidance for implementing the “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements” executive order Trump issued in January. It has reportedly circulated among DHS staff for two weeks.
If implemented, this plan would clearly constitute a deportation force—the kind that Trump boasted about during his campaign. The establishment Republicans who were brought in to sand down Trump’s rougher edges, however, routinely denied that Trump said … exactly what he indisputably said about his “deportation force.” Most notoriously, at the vice presidential debate, Tim Kaine described Trump’s plan for a deportation force, and Mike Pence called his claim “nonsense.” Paul Ryan also told a DACA beneficiary that there would be no deportation force.
Now it appears that Trump may do precisely what he said he would do throughout his campaign. The White House promptly denied the AP story, and Press Secretary Sean Spicer told an AP reporter, “I wish you guys asked before you tweeted” on Friday morning. AP reporters say that they asked both the White House and the Department of Homeland Security for comment but were not answered. Perhaps we should take Friday morning’s denials about as seriously as we took Pence’s and Ryan’s claims about the deportation force before Trump entered the Oval Office.