His spokespeople tried to walk it back afterwards (Jordan Fabian, Spicer: Trump didn’t mean ‘military operation’ literally The Hill 02/23/2017):
Trump sowed confusion over the military’s role in immigration enforcement with his remarks earlier Thursday at the White House.Kelly also insisted in Mexico that the operation was not a mass deportation, though that's clearly what is underway. (Ni deportación masiva ni use de fuerza militar: John Kelly Milenio 24.02.2017)
“We’re getting really bad dudes out of this country,” he said at a meeting with manufacturing CEOs. “And at a rate nobody has ever seen before. And they’re the bad ones. And it’s a military operation.”
Using the military to apprehend people living illegally in the interior of the country would be highly unusual — and possibly a violation of U.S. law.
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly later clarified that military troops would not be used to enforce immigration laws after meeting with Mexican officials.
Mexico in its diplomatic pushback is also insisting on the US doing a better job in controlling drug trafficking on the US side and restricting the flows of guns and cash into Mexico.
Latino leaders in the US are organizing to coordinate efforts in opposing the Trump mass deporation. (María Peña, Líderes latinos anuncian ‘cumbre’ de resistencia contra Trump La Opinión 24.02.2017)
California's Attorney General tweeted:
I've joined 6 states opposing the detention of non-citizens who have never been found to pose a threat: https://t.co/cVeaOkpx8B— Xavier Becerra (@AGBecerra) February 11, 2017
The PBS Newshour reported on the visit of Homeland Security Secretary Kelly and ExxonMobil Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Mexico, U.S. and Mexico share diplomatic dialogue amid tensions 02/23/2017: