White House press secretary Sean Spicer insisted that the deportation of people illegally in the US is not a military operation after the president indicated it is.
On Thursday 23 February, President Donald Trump told CEOs who he was meeting with at the White House that his administration's deportation push is a "military operation."
However, "the President was using that as an adjective," said Spicer during the daily White House press briefing. "It's happening with precision, and in a manner in which it's being done very, very clearly," he insisted.
Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly also worked to tempered the president's statements, saying that the military won't be brought in to enforce immigration law.
"There will be no use of military forces in immigration," Kelly said during a visit to Mexico City. "There will be no — repeat, no — mass deportations."
Last week leaks of Trump administration plans to call up 100,000 members of the National Guard to enforce immigration law were revealed in documents obtained by the Associated Press. The plans were never implemented. Spicer moved to immediately rebuff those 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."
Days after his inauguration, Trump signed two executive orders that prompted US agencies "to employ all lawful means to enforce the immigration laws of the United States." Since then US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have carried out a series of raids on illegal immigrants in major American cities.
"The President was clearly describing the manner in which this was being done," Spicer said.