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Proposal to Militarize Immigration Policy

[ 180 ] February 17, 2017 |

There’s a draft DHS memo floating around today, which proposed using up to 100,000 National Guard troops across eleven states to round up undocumented immigrants. It’s still unclear where this proposal originated, in response to what (though it seems part of the lead-up to the travel ban), and how far its discussion went (Spicer hasn’t denied that the report was discussed). But as Dara Lind makes clear over at Vox,

the fact that it was floated at all is still significant. President Trump arrived in office on the promise of a sweeping crackdown on immigration enforcement, and proceeded to sign executive orders that made substantial changes — but didn’t always provide details.

According to AP, who broke the story,

Staffers in the Department of Homeland Security said the proposal had been discussed as recently as Friday.


A DHS official described the document as a very early draft that was not seriously considered and never brought to the secretary for approval.

As for the details (also from AP):

The 11-page document calls for the unprecedented militarization of immigration enforcement as far north as Portland, Oregon, and as far east as New Orleans, Louisiana.

Four states that border on Mexico were included in the proposal — California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas — but it also encompasses seven states contiguous to those four — Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.

The memo was addressed to the then-acting heads of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It would have served as guidance to implement the wide-ranging executive order on immigration and border security that President Donald Trump signed Jan. 25. Such memos are routinely issued to supplement executive orders.

Also dated Jan. 25, the draft memo says participating troops would be authorized “to perform the functions of an immigration officer in relation to the investigation, apprehension and detention of aliens in the United States.” It describes how the troops would be activated under a revived state-federal partnership program, and states that personnel would be authorized to conduct searches and identify and arrest any unauthorized immigrants.

If implemented, the impact could have been significant. Nearly one-half of the 11.1 million people residing in the U.S. without authorization live in the 11 states, according to Pew Research Center estimates based on 2014 Census data.

Use of National Guard troops would greatly increase the number of immigrants targeted in one of Trump’s executive orders last month, which expanded the definition of who could be considered a criminal and therefore a potential target for deportation. That order also allows immigration agents to prioritize removing anyone who has “committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense.”

According to the draft memo, the militarization effort was to be proactive, specifically empowering Guard troops to solely carry out immigration enforcement, not as an add-on the way local law enforcement is used in the program.

Allowing Guard troops to operate inside non-border states also would go far beyond past deployments.

Now, it bears repeating that there’s still a lot unclear about this memo’s direct relation to policy discussions and decisions. But in a context where policy details have been scant, directives have been rushed and poorly-thought out, and anti-migrant rhetoric is still pouring out from positions of power, that this was even floated should give us pause. Accomplishing the goals of Trump’s continuing campaign against migrants will require draconian methods (even if not in this specific form). Rejecting this particular proposal does not mean that equally troubling methods will not be forthcoming.


Comments (180)

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  1. DrDick says:

    It is also telling that so many in the press actually took this seriously. Given the prior actions and rhetoric of the administration, this is completely believable.

  2. liberal says:

    Let’s see whether they start raiding businesses that are known to employ lots of illegal immigrants. LOL.

  3. rea says:

    If they seriously propose to deport 12 million people, they of course have to do something like this–indeed 100,000 troops probably won’t be enough.

    • americanpride says:

      After they “remove” the illegal immigrants, the inner cities will be their next target. Then Muslims.

    • JR in WV says:

      Well, if you mobilize the NG in half the country, some of them can build camps, and guard the camps where you concentrate the undocumented people the other half will round up somehow, or legal folks who don’t speak very good English, we don’t know who is which yet, remember.

      And the lawyers and courts to determine and seperate those who are illegally present and who are legally present and had a good job until they were arrested without cause and sent to the concentration camps. Yes, that is what they will be. Yes, Trump is ignorant of the cognates surrounding the facts of concentrating undesirables into roughly thrown together “camps”.

      And how will this occupying army be greeted? Those who are wearing body armor, helmets with face shields, carrying an assault rifle, will not be welcome. No one dressed like that on a mission of suppression is welcome.

      When I started to post, I expected that I would be late to the party, and even the snark would already be present in full. Glad to see I was accurate in that forecast.

  4. Solar System Wolf says:

    My understanding is that being in the country illegally is a civil offense, not a criminal one. Can anyone confirm?

  5. Matt says:

    There are almost too many things wrong with this idea to know where to start criticizing it. While it’s possible to think of some bad but perhaps not 100% insane uses of the national guard to enforce immigration law near the actual border with Mexico (like, walk around looking for people walking across the border), outside of that, the idea is just nuts. Immigration law is very complex, and whether a particular person is or is not in status or eligible for some sort of relief or benefit is often pretty hard to know. It’s hard for professionals with lots of training, and really hard for people with a bit of training, like ICE officers. It would be impossible for people like randomly assigned national guard members, and there would be no reason at all to use them, except as a show. The show itself would be bad. So, the whole idea is just dumb, at the very best. Apparently, it’s being denied, and hopefully it is dead, but that it was considered shows that no one in charge has any idea what they are doing.

    • Chip Daniels says:

      But what we also know is that for this administration the rule of law means nothing, procedural norms are irrelevancies, and practical considerations an annoyance.
      I find it entirely plausible that 45 would give a command like this regardless of any consideration.

    • CP says:

      It would be impossible for people like randomly assigned national guard members, and there would be no reason at all to use them, except as a show.

      Of course, to them, this is a feature, not a bug. The blunter the instrument, the better, and deploy them with a “when in doubt, throw them out” guideline. It’ll end up with a ton of rights violated, but… sure, let’s pretend this isn’t exactly what they want.

      (As with the invasion of Iraq or the interrogation of suspected terrorists, there are ways to do things that are much more sensible and legal than what the Repubs did while still achieving results. But those are wimpy and unglamorous ways, when the whole point is to make a grand gesture of hardcore look-how-far-I’m-willing-to-go-to-get-the-job-done! theater, with a big side order of screw-them-they’re-all-unpersons-anyway).

      • BiloSagdiyev says:

        Of course, to them, this is a feature, not a bug. The blunter the instrument, the better, and deploy them with a “when in doubt, throw them out” guideline.

        Is Cheech Marin going to have to remake “Born in East L.A.”? Will we ever learn?

    • kvs says:

      You’re overthinking this. All of those things are Somebody Else’s Problem. The National Guard would just be given a list of people to round up.

    • Lurker says:

      Technically, I think that the National Guard actually has quite a few units that would actually be usable or semi-usable on a mission like this. At least formerly, a major part of the US military police and intelligence capability was locates in the National Guard, and those units have a lot of experience in building a population registry with biometric data, tracking people movements with roadblocks and random ID checks fed to the database and searching for fugitives. The US Army did that in Iraq, and this experience is transferable.

      So, the plan has actually elements that could work. Deployment of a hundred thousand guardsmen would be only for show. I think that if you deployed a couple of key battallions to do the coordination, you could actually get the ball running with a brigade of grunts doing the footwork. Then, based on experiences collected, you would widen the operation.

    • Mike G says:

      It’s butt-stupid security theater. This is like after 9/11 when they had National Guard soldiers standing around at airport security-screening stations doing nothing.

      • Lurker says:

        In theory, armed militsry personnel would be able to stop an active shooter. Considering that these are usually white males, I would say, as a white male, that I feel such measures are sexist, racist and humilating, demonstrating distrust at white males, although most of us never start randomly shooting people, and even fewer do it multiple times. :-)

      • Dagmar says:

        Holding automatic weapons.

  6. Brett says:

    A draft memo doesn’t mean much, aside from letting us know the opinion of whoever signed off on it. All that said, I really wouldn’t put it past Trump to nationalize the National Guard to remove unauthorized immigrants if the local police are reluctant to help ICE.

  7. (((max))) says:

    Accomplishing the goals of Trump’s continuing campaign against migrants will require draconian methods (even if not in this specific form). Rejecting this particular proposal does not mean that equally troubling methods will not be forthcoming.

    But this is essentially what he was proposing during the campaign.

    When this first came up during the campaign, Josh Marshall was talking terms of it being like Hitler and Trump would set up little prison camps all over the place. The problem with that is that IT HAD ALREADY BEEN DONE – those are what those detention centers Obama was running were and are. It also doesn’t work fast enough to remove the 11 million already here, but Obama didn’t *want* to remove the 11 million already here.

    To do what Trump said he was going to do (and it’s evident he wants to do what he said he was going to do) then he’s going to have to have the military set up a perimeter line running across the US from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico and have those military dudes march south, flushing out ‘immigrants’ as they go. Presumably he’d want to declare marshal law when the plan swings into motion.

    A line of American military moving slowly south going door-to-door looking for immigrants is going to terrify people further south, who will be inclined to run, especially when the reports of various firefights further North start flowing in. It’s the only way to flush out the requisite number of people. Of course, what they’re really going to be doing is flushing out the browns, immigrant and non-immigrant alike, and they’ll probably miss a bunch.

    They’re going to be aiming at a combination of Andrew Jackson and Indian Removal and a roided-up version of “Operation Wetback”. And it’ll work, sorta, enough for Trump to claim success and get those neo-Confederate juices flowing.

    This is not something they might do, something they’re entertaining doing, what I described is going to be the plan, however close the exact details might or might not be, and we have to be looking for the implementation and be prepared to oppose effectively. (Don’t be shocked when they roll it out – be shocked now and then get over it, because we need to oppose this effectively.)

    It’s going to take a lot of warm bodies out in the streets where this is going to be occurring (which means sunny California, people) to bog it down and halt it.

    [‘Of course, we could just start beating on the from this day forward about it and see if we can bluff them out.’]

    • humanoid.panda says:

      I think the scenario Max lays out here is less than 5% likely to happen, but this is the sort of thing I was thinking about in my “California secession” thread…

      • Just_Dropping_By says:

        I think the scenario Max lays out here is less than 5% likely to happen

        Next you’ll be pointing out that the logistics of something like this would take at minimum several weeks to organize (if not months) and would probably require additional congressional appropriations to finance.

    • (((Malaclypse))) says:

      Protip: the moment you talk about “marshall law” everybody knows you don’t know what you are talking about.

    • rea says:

      he’s going to have to have the military set up a perimeter line running across the US from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico and have those military dudes march south

      Let’s see–100,000 troops, 1900 miles from Los Angeles to New Orleans–that’s roughly 1 guardsman every 53 miles, right?

      • rea says:

        Sorry, 53 guardsmen per mile? Math was never my strong point (hey, I went to the same school as Campos). Still, a rather permeable perimeter.

        • BiloSagdiyev says:

          Not if they’re continually shooting 5.56mm rounds. You gotta have a dream.

        • Warren Terra says:

          Let’s play with the numbers a bit:

          1) Assume three shifts to achieve 24/7 coverage. This is maybe too few shifts given weekends and the like, but hey: they’re grunts, and away from their families, we can do that to them.
          2) Officers, support people, sick leave etcetera. I’m just going to make up a number here, completely invented, say you’ve got to set aside a third of your force in these categories as non-patrollers.
          3) How big are your patrols? You can’t send anyone unaccompanied, that would be nuts. Say three people.
          4) How long are the deployments? Let’s say three months, meaning only a quarter of the people you intend to call up are deployed at any one time.

          So, that’s a correction factor of (1/3)(2/3)(1/3)(1/4) ~ 1/50. Sure, it’s made up. But amusingly it does take us back to an average of one guardsperson team per mile.

        • sigaba says:

          I assume the model wouldn’t be some sort of border cordon but would resemble what happened during the Rodney King riots, when NG and Marines patrolled the city and rode along with the LAPD to provide “support.”

          • Warren Terra says:

            Oh, sure. If nothing else, bewildered guardsmen beating up brown people in the inner city is maximally cruel, stupid, and incendiary, so we have to assume it’s Trump’s preferred option.

            Still, it’s interesting that if you were to map out the National Guard deployment size necessary to put a tight cordon on our southern border, it really would be in the tens of thousands, and 100k wouldn’t be insane.

            • sigaba says:

              When I was in college, a grad student I was working with on a short film was a former Marine captain, he’d been discharged (long sad story) just before the riots and I met several Marines from his company when we were shooting his film. This was about 6 years after the riots.

              They loved telling this story about how they were assigned to ride out with an LAPD patrol and the unit was dispatched on a response to a house in South Central for some kind of disturbance. As the police got out of the car they said to the fully-armed Marines in the back: “You guys cover the front.” The Marines interpreted this as “lay down suppressing fire.”

              They laughed and laughed as they told the story. Ha ha.

          • j_doc says:

            The key difference vs the 1992 riots is that level of cooperation/enforcement by the LAPD would likely require that the state and city already be under military rule.

  8. eselbin says:

    This shit is pernicious and poisonous. I suspect yet another trial balloon; their sadly comical walking it back merely pathetic. It will be interesting to see what Cheeto Jesus bellows about it tomorrow…or if he mentions the non-Muslim Target terrorist in Florida….

  9. americanpride says:

    The NG is not trained, equipped, or cultural attuned to a mission such as this. It would be a disaster for the military’s credibility and for constitutional rights. The composition of the NG varies by state, but it consists in large part of combat arms (infantry, armor, artillery, engineers), and service and support (transportation, military police, etc). Do we really we want to see U.S. soldiers conducting raids, rounding up people, and setting up check points in American cities (well… I’m sure some people do if they’re rounding up the “right people”).

    The draft memo states that NG would be authorized to conduct investigations, apprehensions, and detentions. What happens when a U.S. citizen’s rights is violated – or a citizen is killed – by an errant NG soldier? Who will be held responsible? LEOs can be compromised by Giglio material in their background. Soldiers on the other hand? Where’s the legal accountability when something goes wrong?

    This must be the secret military government take over that the right wing militias have been fearing this whole time, right? RIGHT?!

    • C.V. Danes says:

      Question: Does the President have the authority to call up the National Guard directly, or does this have to go through each state’s governor? Does a governor have the authority to override a presidential call-up?

      • BigHank53 says:

        IIRC, The President can call them up and deploy them outside of the US–or use them on military bases to replace soldier that have been so deployed. Domestically, they’re under the command of state governor and are deployed in states of emergency. Gonna be hard to convince all those governors it’s a state of emergency. Well, Texas and Arizona are givens.

      • C.V. Danes says:

        I should have googled this first. President has the authority to federalize the Guard to active duty via Title 10, but then the Guard is then considered active duty military and subject to the same restrictions for deployment on American soil. The state can call the Guard to “Guard Duty” under Title 32, but this is still derived from federal authority. So it looks like either way a governor would lose.

        • rea says:

          Yeah–I believe LBJ responded to governors calling out the Guard to deal with civil rights demonstrations by taking them into federal service

        • Jack M. says:

          But then if they’re called to active duty military, they’d be subject to posse comitatus and aren’t permitted to deploy on American soil. That sounds like a sure-fire way to start the military talking about ‘illegal orders’ and I don’t think Idiot Amin or his handlers want to risk a two-front war with the Intelligence Community *and* the Pentagon.

          • C.V. Danes says:

            Yeah. This incident has spurred me to read up on the National Guard, so there’s a silver lining there, I guess :-)

            If the guard is called up under Title 32, posse comitatus doesn’t apply, but Title 32 requires concurrence from a state’s governor, which is probably why the memo is written to that effect.

          • kvs says:

            The crux of the argument would be whether it was determined that they were being deployed for domestic law enforcement or national security. The administration would argue it’s the latter. At the moment, the courts seem less lenient in allowing the executive to just declare things a matter of national security.

          • j_doc says:

            Eisenhower deployed the 101st Airborne to escort black students to school in the south. That wasn’t exactly law enforcement, but close enough that I’m sure some lawyers are examining the justification.

            I don’t recall if federalized National Guard units were similar deployed in the civil rights era.

    • rhino says:

      I would like to believe the military would refuse to comply.

      • osceola says:

        A lot of Latinos join the Guard for the extra pay and benefits (my boss’ brother is a captain in the NM guard) so I imagine there would be some passive resistance.

      • Caepan says:

        I would like to believe that, too.

        However, we live in an age where active duty soldiers drive on our nation’s highways like drunk high school kids waving Trump flags on their armored vehicles.

        • JR in WV says:

          And then get disciplined for breaking all kinds of regs, which goes on their record which is inspected by promotion boards.

          • lunaticllama says:

            I asked my nephew-first-removed (or some other complicated tangential relation) who is active duty in the Army about that incident and he said the chances of pulling a stunt like that and not getting disciplined are approximately zero.

  10. Accomplishing the goals of Trump’s continuing campaign against migrants will require draconian methods (even if not in this specific form). Rejecting this particular proposal does not mean that equally troubling methods will not be forthcoming.

    This was my thought as well. Using the National Guard to round up immigrants would pose a whole host of legal and logistical challenges. For starters, according to the AP, the individual state governors would have to be involved, and it’s hard to see Jerry Brown going along with it. Colorado, Oregon, and Louisiana also have Democratic governors.

    However, they have a lot of other options. Leveraging federal funds to local/state police agencies in exchange for checking immigration status, for example, would be pretty evil. Ditto hospitals, schools, etc. They’ll settle on something vile, and probably something in a more legal gray area than militarizing 11 states.

    • C.V. Danes says:

      For starters, according to the AP, the individual state governors would have to be involved, and it’s hard to see Jerry Brown going along with it. Colorado, Oregon, and Louisiana also have Democratic governors.

      My recent googling tells me that the president can federalize the guard under Title 10. Would this not bypass the governors?

  11. Matty says:

    I really wonder if this isn’t a threat more than anything. It costs the current administration nothing, and (rightly) scares people.

  12. (((Malaclypse))) says:

    But her e-mails!

  13. Gwen says:

    Hmm, seems like a potential disaster on multiple levels:

    * This violates the spirit, if not the letter, of the Posse Comitatus Act.

    * While I was fine with Jade Helm 15 and other practice maneuvers, in large part because there was no real interaction between troops and civilians, a large-scale operation where civilian-military interaction is routine is not liable to go smoothly. Somebody is going to get shot, especially if some overeager Weekend Warriors are not getting clear instructions from competent leaders.

    * I assume Mexico will not respond kindly, especially if the National Guard in any way enters Mexican territory.

    * This to me seems like it borders on ethnic cleansing. Would the military be opening itself up to charges of humanitarian crimes if it were involved in mass deportation?

    • americanpride says:

      While I was fine with Jade Helm 15 and other practice maneuvers, in large part because there was no real interaction between troops and civilians, a large-scale operation where civilian-military interaction is routine is not liable to go smoothly. Somebody is going to get shot, especially if some overeager Weekend Warriors are not getting clear instructions from competent leaders.

      This is probably the highest risk. Weekend drills at your typical infantry unit don’t include instruction on legal authorities and law enforcement interaction with the public; i.e. probable cause, unreasonable search and seizure, and so on. 100,000 soldiers are going to receive a day’s worth of legal training by power-point delivered by a unit officer who may or may not have legal training of his own. Also – soldiers will be subject to UCMJ, not civilian courts, with oversight provided by that soldier’s chain of command. It will cause a lot of legal and political problems for the military and they should push back on this.

      • rea says:

        Of course, a great many guardsmen have plenty of experience with law enforcement and interacting with the public–in Iraq.

      • Hogan says:

        This has been your orientation! Is there anything you do not understand? Is there anything you understand only partially? If you have not been fully oriented — if there is something you do not understand in all of its particulars you must file a complaint with personnel! File a faulty complaint… and they dock ya!

    • C.V. Danes says:

      * This violates the spirit, if not the letter, of the Posse Comitatus Act.

      It seems that this only applies under Title 10 activation by the president. Under Title 32 activation this does not apply, but I believe Title 32 requires concurrence of the state’s governor, which is why the memo stated that the guard would be called up subject to approval by each state’s governor.

  14. I think one huge aspect of this that can’t be overlooked is that actions like this don’t just affect undocumented workers, but everybody who “looks undocumented,” as well. You could be a fifth generation American, but if a National Guardsman thinks you look like you don’t belong, you may be snatched up. And although there’s no requirement in this country that you have to carry proof of citizenship (“papers, please”), life is going to suck for you if you get caught up in this net and you don’t have satisfactory ID.

    • rea says:

      I hate it when the real world recapitulates an old Cheech & Chong movie.

    • Little Chak says:

      One thing I’ve never understood about the “every country that has had lax borders has ceased to exist” crowd (beyond them not being able to give an example of such that remotely resembles the present day United States) is that it is actually quite the reverse: it is not easy to think of a nation that devolved into “papers, please”, and is still around as such (i.e. without becoming a complete laughingstock, or with greatly reduced wealth and influence).

      • americanpride says:

        Palestine doesn’t have control of its borders and its ceasing to exist… oh, is that an inappropriate example? Must be fake news.

        • Rob in CT says:

          What are you some kind of liberal? A True Conservative knows there’s no such place as Palestine and never was.

          • JR in WV says:

            Actually and in fact, the country that is today ruled by King Abdullah II and called Jordan was before the British Protectorate times know as Trans-Jordanian Palestine. The name changed some time between then and now, and the Queen is Palestinian as well.

            This isn’t really snark, just an appropriate corrective historical detail. Old maps and reference books are a never-ending source of surprising facts.

            • Rob in CT says:

              Funny you should bring that up, because that’s the basis for the Conservative argument I’ve seen: there is no such thing as “Palestinians” – they’re Jordanian and they should go to Jordan (nevermind that Jordan can’t handle that).

              • sigaba says:

                By that logic there’s no such thing as Israel, all of those “Israelis” should go back to Russia and Romania.

                The Arabs who lived in Palestine claimed to be Jordanian when it was hoped Jordanian protection would let them keep their homes in Palestine. Didn’t work. Jews living in Palestine claimed to be loyal subjects of the British mandate, as long as the British were keeping Rommel at bay. Worked better.

      • j_doc says:

        Well, those Romans opened their borders and just declared everyone a citizen and look at what happened to them barely 1500 years later!

    • j_doc says:

      Yeah, it’s a little harder to implement a purely racist process in places like New Mexico, Arizona, or California. That might not stop someone from trying, but it ensures a robust public response from large numbers of citizens.

      It’s a potentially helpful catch-22, in that any “papers please” policy that is truly non-racist would be instantly radioactive among white people, while making it overtly racist is both obviously illegal and rallies enough opposition to make it just as radioactive in the places that matter.

  15. ScottK says:

    I’m sure taking 100,000 Guardsmen out of their jobs to take a million immigrants out of their jobs will have no significant effect on the economy. None at all. Everything will be fine.

    • Karen24 says:

      On the bright side, this would ensure that Texas and Arizona became blue states forever, and not because we’re suddenly so enlightened about immigrant rights. Losing all those employees for months and pissing off Mexico would crash our economies HARD and ignite a very serious backlash.*

      *No, I am not seriously suggesting that there is a good side to this plan. I am suggesting that destroying the economy of the only large red state is a dumb idea.

      • humanoid.panda says:

        That’s actually an interesting question: to what extent are Texas republicans are going to try and keep things sane re: deportations and such?

        • Karen24 says:

          Depends. There are a number of restive Republican members of the House of Representatives that don’t like the Lt. Gov’s craziness about schools and general anti-business behavior. (Dan Patrick was a talk-radio goon before being elected Lt. Gov. He actually ran against the business interests, and runs the Senate like his own little Tea Party rally.) if the raids are big enough and in the wrong — ie, rural agricultural — places, then there will be immediate pushback.

  16. wengler says:

    Actually implementing this might also destroy the National Guard as an effective force. The Guard has a lot of white cops in it that voted for Trump, and also a lot of brown people that are related to undocumented migrants. It is not well suited for this particular mission.

    • CrunchyFrog says:

      The guard is much, much more white than the nation as a whole. 80% white according to the latest numbers I’ve seen, and very little non-black minority. They also are much less educated that the national averages and more likely to be rural.

      In short, the Guard looks a lot like Trump’s base. And that’s just based on demographics. The fact that they are in the Guard has a selection bias that skews pro-Trump even more.

      Now these are aggregate numbers and I suspect that in the states in question the numbers may be more Hispanic – but at the same time probably less black (given the demographics of the states in question) – so guessing they are still around 80% white on average.

      I have no idea whether this will go through. I have no doubt that Bannon and Trump think it’s a terrific idea and that the proposal was drafted for them. If it does go through, though, don’t look for a lot of resistance from the Guard itself.

      • CP says:

        I tend not to count on resistance from the military in general, period. In the form of “sir, this is a bad idea,” sure. In the form of actually disobeying orders? No.

  17. Brien Jackson says:

    Anyone want to hazard a guess what Greenwald is doing on Twitter over this story?

      • Little Chak says:

        The other guess would be screaming about it being a breach of national security by someone who was not duly elected by The People, and/or that it’s the sky-is-falling liberal media once again promoting fake news.

    • Matty says:

      This made me curious, so I checked. The only ways in which he’s mentioned it so far are demanding the AP release the entire memo. No comment on the content of it or what it might mean. Spending a lot of time talking about the Deep State, including retweeting our good friend Michael Tracey and a Fox Business interview with Dennis Kucinich.

      • Brien Jackson says:

        And retweeting Sean Spicer’s claim that it’s a fake.

        • CrunchyFrog says:

          You know, in the 2000s when Greenwald was on his anti-Bush administration crusade I would never have guessed that he picked up a sponsorship from Russia along the way. But it certainly makes a ton of sense in retrospect. In fact, given just how extensive Russian media influence has become (and I’m sure we know only a fraction of it) it would have been surprising if they hadn’t tried to sponsor him.

          It’s fascinating how many of the people who supposedly represent the left (add Stein to this list) have the same kind of approach now: “Well, of course Trump is bad, and I’m going to write/say a bit on that. And of course Putin is bad, and I might say one or two things about that for credibility purposes. But what I’m really going to emphasize is how bad Trump and Putin’s opponents are – and because I’m seen as a lefty the latter is what is going to be emphasized by others.”

          Not unlike the Lanny Davis and Pat Cadell schticks.

    • CP says:

      Making a passionate and emphatic stand against the prospect of such a horrible and abusive use of the security state to target vulnerable nonwhite populations, I’m sure.

    • liberalrob says:

      Is it important that Glenn comment on everything?

  18. Rob in CT says:

    If this were a halfway normal GOP administration, I’d be willing to shrug and say oh well, some underling cooked up a kooky proposal that went nowhere.

    With this, I wonder. Is it just part of the chaos? Was it a trial balloon of sorts? A threat, as was suggested above? Part of a leak hunt? A “fake news” setup?

    Fuck this timeline.

    • CrunchyFrog says:

      Exactly – this was leaked precisely because 1) someone at the top asked for it and 2) the leaker in question realized how insane it is.

    • Lee Rudolph says:

      Was it a trial balloon of sorts?

      I dunno—does “balloon of sorts” come with an “oh, the humanity!” option?

    • osceola says:

      I think a handful of crackpot ideologues (Bannon among them) think they can implement whatever dumbass notion that looked good in a Breitbart or Newsmax column. As the rollout of the travel ban demonstrated, we should all be grateful these guys have shitty follow-through skills for their bad ideas.

      • efgoldman says:

        I think a handful of crackpot ideologues (Bannon among them) think they can implement whatever dumbass notion that looked good in a Breitbart or Newsmax column.

        President Bannonazi’s ventriloquist’s dummy, Mango Malignancy, doesn’t have one single advisor – not one – who came out of politics, or the political/legal field. If he has lawyers, clearly they can’t read.
        I can’t believe even an asshole like Sessions would go for it.

    • DocAmazing says:

      Unfortunately, there’s a history of horrifying ideas being floated that may or may not have been intended for implementation–Operation Northwoods is the classic example.

      It could be argued that just putting the idea down on paper achieves part of the intended goal. In any case, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this kind of thing.

    • j_doc says:

      If it’s meant as a Chicago-style threat to uncooperative politicians in those states, I suspect it will not have the desired effect.

  19. Chip Daniels says:

    In reading about life under authoritarian rule, its been pointed out that ambiguity and impracticality are tools.

    Ambiguous yet draconian displays of power frighten and intimidate people into self-policing; Better to be safe than sorry.

    Even if this never get put into action, the intent here is to intimidate and terrify anyone of brown skin.

    ETA- I’m white as mayonnaise, and it freaks me the fuck out.

    • kvs says:

      That argument assumes that it was leaked by a supporter rather than by someone who wanted to mobilize opposition to it.

      And I don’t think it’s safe to assume that they’re brilliant game theorists.

  20. NeonTrotsky says:

    If wanting the military to round people up isn’t fascism then I don’t know what is.

  21. Crusty says:

    I think some of these people just have a hard on for military type shit and watch too many movies and are stupid and like the idea of military operations all over the place, particularly directed at brown people.

  22. efgoldman says:

    Oh, by the way, who’s going to pay for this unpolished turd? Will they appropriate the money before or after the budget for the wall?

  23. Major Kong says:

    Well it’s not like any of this costs money or anything.

    Let’s see, activating 100,000 National Guard for how many days?

    An E-4 with 4 years of service makes around $80/day base pay. That sounds like a pretty average rank for a guardsman.

    That puts around $8 million per day to have that many people activated.

  24. Philip says:

    Just to be extremely clear, *this* is how you get a civil war

    • Mike in DC says:

      Indeed. Undocumented workers don’t live in separate, segregated communities from other Latinos or Asians. The prospect of military vehicles driving through neighborhoods while armed soldiers go door to door and people in the street are stopped and asked to show their papers…I’d expect resistance to take many forms, including nonviolent and violent means.

    • Dagmar says:

      A civil war is an excellent excuse for declaring martial law, and suspending due process and habeas corpus for citizens.

  25. j_doc says:

    “Listen to and believe what they say”, right?

    Have we all* finally woken up to the idea that military deportation squads going house-to-house rounding people up and shipping them off en masse to camps or trains is the actual proposed reality, not hysterical hyperbole?

    This plan would not end well, and it may even end not well before it gets properly started.

    *not LGM, the rest of the country

    • Just_Dropping_By says:

      Have we all* finally woken up to the idea that military deportation squads going house-to-house rounding people up and shipping them off en masse to camps or trains U.S. government agents committing acts of terrorism against American civilians and military targets, blaming it on the Cuban government, and using it to justify a war against Cuba is the actual proposed reality, not hysterical hyperbole? (And let’s not even talk about “War Plan Red”:

      The existence of plans (especially unsigned, unapproved ones) does not come close to constituting the “actual proposed reality.”

      • j_doc says:

        I think you’re making a category error. Sure, there have been lots of similarly terrifying plans of varying seriousness. Most were highly secret, and contingent. Few represented proactive implementation of a public and explicit policy promise. That is a real distinction.

        Jackson-era Indian removal is probably the closest analogy and not a reassuring one.

      • Matty says:

        So, I’m just one of those jackass millenials, but I don’t recall War with Cuba being an explicit campaign promise of the Kennedy administration in the same way that deporting every undocumented immigrant in the country was one of Trumps.

        • DocAmazing says:

          I do remember reading something about MH-CHAOS, the Bay of Pigs invasion and a whole bunch of other stuff that suggested that Northwoods wasn’t that far off of what might be considered acceptable by elements of the CIA. You might find the idea of domestic terrorism sponsored by groups within the government to be far-fetched; other folks have dealt with agents provocateurs and out-of-control COINTELPRO types.

  26. Chip Daniels says:

    I think its clear enough that the 45 Administration is a muddled chaotic mess, so ascribing some nefarious 11 dimensional chess strategy to it is in error.


    I come back to the notion that Trumps base doesn’t have a clear set of policy goals and desired outcomes, other than inflicting punishment on their perceived enemies and exacting vengeance for their revanchist grievances.

    Putting brown people on notice, even if it never gets carried out, while maybe not a well thought thru strategy, is a desired goal.
    Notice how the “limited” and “temporary” ban on “some immigrants from some Muslim nations” resulted in non-Muslim green card holders being detained and interrogated, Muslims from Canada being turned away.

    The purpose here is to impress upon everyone the arbitrary power, to flex their muscles and say “Look at what we can do with impunity!”

    At some point, this is the directive communicated from Trump/Bannon, even if it is not explicit, even if it is in a “who will rid me of this troublesome priest” sort of way.

    • Davis X. Machina says:

      The Trumpist state is a vehicle for getting people.

      Get the Muslims.
      Get the liberals.
      Get the uppity blahs.
      Get the media.
      Get the Mexicans.
      Get the wimmins.

      Get. Get. Get.

      It’s a 12th century conception of the state. Commingle the public and private fisc. Establish a dynasty. Enrich your friends, punish your enemies, and fight the occasional war of religion.

  27. Dr. Ronnie James, DO says:

    It’s like America subscribed to the Niemoller of the Month Club.

  28. e.a.foster says:

    This is the really scary part. We will see how Govenors and the guards people themselves react when ordered to do their new jobs. If they lay down their arms and say, no way then the citizens have won.

    People need to remember, after WW II many said they were simply following orders. We all know how it turned out.

    it may also result in a civil war. if large round ups begin, that is approx. 8 million undocumented workers. Americans and those who live in the country are well armed. They may not go quietly. Not every one wants a shoot out with their neighbour. Then of course there is the small matter of if people become afraid, they may not report crimes, which is going to result in a whole other problem, like paid for vigilantes.

    People who have spend 10 to 30 years in the U.S.A. with American born children may not go willingly and if they feel they have noting to loose, the country may be lost.

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