A draft memorandum from President Donald Trump’s administration shows it considered a proposal to mobilize up to 100,000 National Guard members to round up unauthorized immigrants.
The 11-page proposal, which calls for the unprecedented militarization of immigration enforcement, was discussed as recently as today (Feb. 17), according to employees in the Department of Homeland Security. An official there said it was a very early draft that was not seriously considered or brought to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly for approval, despite bearing his name.
The border states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California were included in the proposal, as were seven states that border those: Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. Governors in those states would have been able to choose whether their troops would participate.
Miguel Levario, an associate professor in the Texas Tech University Department of History, specializes in U.S. history, borderlands history, race, immigration and Chicana/Mexican-American history. His book, “Militarizing the Border: When Mexicans Became the Enemy,” addresses the exact topic, strategy and result of this proposal. Levario is available to discuss the situation.
ExpertMiguel Levario, associate professor, Department of History, (806) 281-8343 or [email protected]
Talking points • Using National Guard or any federal military personnel violates the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878. This federal law prohibits the federal government from using federal military personnel to enforce domestic policies within the United States, thus rendering Trump’s consideration of using National Guard to arrest unauthorized and undocumented immigrants as foolish and wholly ignorant.• Exactly 100 years ago the United States sent nearly 100,000 national guardsmen to the U.S.-Mexico border in response to the Francisco Villa invasion in Columbus, New Mexico. Guardsmen were sympathetic to the war refugees and questioned their purpose and utility since their authority was limited.• The National Guard does not have any arresting powers.• Militarizing the border or states with significant migrant and Latino populations further demonizes the community and essentially makes them enemies of the state.• Local and state authorities would be in conflict with the National Guard as jurisdiction and authority would certainly come into question.