A leaked memo obtained by the press appears to show that Donald Trump's administration is considering deploying 100,000 National Guard troops to round-up unauthorised immigrants. The White House has immediately denied the reports.
According to a draft memo, obtained by the Associated Press, millions would be affected in 11 states that are nowhere near the US' southern border with Mexico. The 11-page document reportedly advocates an unprecedented militarisation of US Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) as far north as Portland, Oregon, and as far east as New Orleans, Louisiana.
Donald Trump's Press Secretary Sean Spicer moved to immediately rebuff the claims and called the report "100% false". He added that here had been "no effort at all to utilise the National Guard to round up unauthorised immigrants."
The memo, written by US Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, a retired four-star Marine General said Governors in the 11 states be able to choose whether to have their guard troops participate.
The AP reported that 11.1 million people residing in the US illegally could be affected if the measures suggested in the memo were enacted.
Trump has made a nationwide crackdown on illegal immigrants one of the cornerstones of his domestic policy. During his campaign for the presidency, Trump promised to deport millions of immigrants who had criminal records.
In a June 2015 speech about building a wall across the US border with Mexico, he branded Mexican immigrants "criminals" and "rapists".
On January 25, the president signed executive orders to build a wall on the border and to prioritise the deportation of undocumented immigrants who had been convicted of or "charged with any criminal offence".
The memo is also dated 25 January. and was circulated among staff at the department of homeland security. Addressed to the acting heads of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and US Customs and Border Protection the memo says it would empower participating troops "to perform the functions of an immigration officer in relation to the investigation, apprehension and detention of aliens in the United States."
Under the proposals the troops would be activated under a previously defunct program. Personnel would then be able to conduct searches and identify and arrest any unauthorised immigrants.
On 12 February, ICE officials said they had rounded up undocumented foreigners in Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and elsewhere in what were referred to as "routine" operations.
The president took to Twitter to praise the action saying: "The crackdown on illegal criminals is merely the keeping of my campaign promise. Gang members, drug dealers and others are being removed!"