(RNN) - An official with the Department of Homeland Security said Friday a Trump Administration proposal to mobilize National Guard troops to detain people in the U.S. illegally was never seriously considered.
The Associated Press reported that the official said the memo was an early draft. Staffers at DHS told the AP it was being discussed as recently as last week.
The AP obtained a copy of the 11-page draft memo that outlines the unprecedented action, which called for the use of as many as 100,000 troops. The effort would have stretched as far north as Portland, OR, and as far east as New Orleans.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said on Twitter that the AP's report was "not true."
Four states that border Mexico were included in the proposal: Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. It also adds Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah. Nearly half of the estimated 11 million people in the country illegally live in those 11 states, based on Census data.
National Guard troops have assisted with immigration efforts near the border but never been used as widely or as far north as the memo proposes, the AP stated.
The memo was written by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and addressed to the acting heads of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Governors in the 11 states would choose whether to have their guard troops participate.
This is not true. DHS also confirms it is 100% false https://t.co/MFIJci7XaU— Sean Spicer (@PressSec) February 17, 2017
The AP reported the memo was sent as guidance on the executive order on immigration and border security that President Donald Trump signed.
In a lengthy Facebook post, Rep. Julian Castro, D-TX, said the report is "disturbing, to say the least."
Among the issues to consider, he said the administration thinks that news like this strikes terror in immigrants and "may make them more likely to 'self-deport,' even if this kind of draconian policy is never implemented."
Castro also said the story could serve as a "trial balloon" to see how the public would react to such a move and may pave the way for smaller moves on immigration.
He said, "if they don't implement this (even if they were indeed considering it) it will serve as another example to their right-wing base that the mainstream media regularly report 'fake news' that turns out not to be true."
The National Guard, unlike other branches of the military, reports to state and federal governments. It, along with the Coast Guard, are exempted from the Posse Comitatus Act and can be deployed in the U.S.
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