"We're getting really bad dudes out of this country. And it's a military operation because what has been allowed to come into our country," he said.
Later in the day, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly said the complete opposite.
BREAKING: US Homeland Security Secretary Kelly vows `no mass deportations,' no use of US military in immigration enforcement.— The Associated Press (@AP) February 23, 2017
Naturally, during today's White House Press Briefing, Sean Spicer was asked about the contradiction, and his answer was typically absurd and mendacious:
REPORTER: The president said today that the deportations taking place under his watch are a military operation; Secretary Kelly said the military won't be involved in deportations. Did the president misspeak?Yikes.
SPICER: Yeah, so, I'll take the latter first: The president was using that as an adjective—it's happening with precision. And in a manner in which it's being done very, very clearly. I think we made it clear in the past, and Secretary Kelly reiterated it, what kind of operation this was. But the president was clearly describing the manner in which this was being done. And so, just to be clear on his use of that phrase— And I think the way it's being done, by all accounts, is being done with very much, very, a high degree of precision and in a flawless manner in terms of making sure that the orders are carried out and it's done in a very streamlined and efficient manner.
So, this is bullshit. That's clearly (to use one of Spicer's favorite words) not at all what Trump was saying. He literally said "it's a military operation because what has been allowed to come into our country."
That is: The undocumented immigrants who have come to the U.S. are such dangerous people that it has obliged us to use military strength to remove them.
Which becomes even more clear in his statement immediately thereafter: "You see what's happening at the border. When you see gang violence that you've read about like never before, and all of the things, much of that is people who are here illegally. And they're rough, and they're tough, but they're not tough like our people, so we're getting them out."
Trump was clearly not talking about military precision. He was talking about heightened aggression, which is why his immigration memos included "the hiring of an additional 10,000 ICE agents [and the] expansion of detention facilities."
The word for which Trump was searching was militarized, which is exactly what it happening, irrespective of whether the actual U.S. military is employed in deportations.
And that is very troubling indeed.