February 17, 2017 at 6:05 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Report: White House considered National Guard for immigration roundup

Sean Spicer, gay news, Washington Blade

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Feb. 17, 2017, described a report that the Trump administration was considering the mobilization of up to 100,000 National Guard troops to roundup undocumented immigrants as “false.”

The Trump administration on Friday denied an Associated Press report that said it considered the mobilization of up to 100,000 National Guard troops to round up undocumented immigrants in 11 states.

The Associated Press obtained an 11-page draft memo from the Department of Homeland Security that proposed the use of National Guard troops in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas — the four states that border Mexico — and Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah. The draft memo with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly’s name on it was dated Jan. 25, which is the same day President Trump signed an executive order that spurs construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to stop undocumented immigrants from entering the country.

“State National Guard components are employees of their respective states and are under the command of their governors when they are not in federal service,” reads the draft memo the Associated Press obtained. “Based on their training and experience, these men and women are particularly well-suited to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law and augment border security operation by department components.”

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Friday described the Associated Press report as “100 percent not true” and “false.”

“It is not a White House document,” he said.

The Associated Press released the draft memo it obtained shortly after Spicer spoke with reporters.

Undocumented trans immigrant arrested at courthouse

ABC News last summer reported the Obama administration deported 2.5 million undocumented immigrants between 2009-2015. One statistic indicates 91 percent of those who were deported from the U.S. in 2015 have been convicted of a crime.

Immigrant rights advocates and their supporters have sharply criticized Trump over his plan to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. LGBT rights activists in Mexico and Central America with whom the Washington Blade has spoken in recent weeks said the executive order has sparked fear throughout the region.

“The fear is very real,” Freddy Funez, an LGBT rights activist in the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula, told the Blade on Feb. 10 during an interview at his office.

Trump two weeks earlier signed a second executive order that indefinitely bans Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. It also suspends the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days and the issuance of visas from seven predominantly Muslim countries — Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya — for 90 days.

A three-judge panel on 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week upheld a federal judge’s ruling that blocked the travel ban.

Trump is expected to sign a new executive order next week that would apply to those with ties to terrorism. The 9th Circuit on Thursday said it would not take any further action on the travel ban until the White House formally announces the directive.

Murals on a wall that marks the U.S.-Mexico border in Mexicali, Mexico. (Photo courtesy of Victor Aguirre)

Murals on a wall that marks the U.S.-Mexico border in Mexicali, Mexico. (Photo courtesy of Victor Aguirre)

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents last week arrested an undocumented transgender woman inside a courthouse in El Paso, Texas, after she received a protective order against her ex-boyfriend.

A video that KVIA, a local television station, obtained shows two ICE agents escorting the trans woman out of the El Paso County Courthouse.

KVIA reported she has a lengthy criminal record that includes convictions for domestic violence and has been deported from the U.S. seven times. El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal told another local television station the trans woman’s ex-boyfriend may have tipped off ICE because he “new precisely where the victim would be at that time and date since he had received notice to be in that courtroom as well.”

“We hope that this is an isolated incident that will never happen again,” Bernal told the television station. “We call on ICE officials to do everything they can to make sure this never happens again in our community.”

National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendall sharply criticized ICE over the trans woman’s arrest.

“We cannot condemn strongly enough ICE arresting a victim of domestic violence while she was in court seeking legal protection from her abuser, a right she was guaranteed under Texas law regardless of immigration status,” said Kendall in a statement she released on Thursday. “This arrest has a chilling effect on all victims of domestic violence.”

“It is unconscionable that ICE would arrest somebody at court, effectively handing abusers a way to further control and harm their victims,” she added.

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs and the Transgender Law Center also criticized the trans woman’s arrest.

“Our government’s actions send the message to transgender people that we are disposable and do not deserve dignity or safety,” said Transgender Law Center Director of Programs Isa Noyola in a press release.

A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees ICE, has yet to respond to the Blade’s request for comment.

NBC Washington reported ICE agents on Feb. 8 detained several Latino men across the street from a church in Alexandria, Va., after they left its homeless shelter. Hundreds of other undocumented immigrants have been arrested in raids that have taken place across the country in recent weeks.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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