California limits National Guard's border mission, risking clash with Trump

Frederick Owens
April 17, 2018

Rebutting reports that California spurned the Trump administration's plan to send the National Guard to the border, California officials said Monday that the state has not backed out of an agreement with the federal government.

Brown's announcement last week did not address what specific jobs the California Guard would and would not do and how state officials would distinguish work related to immigration from other aspects of border enforcement, such as fighting criminal gangs and drug and gun smuggling.

Jerry Brown is willing to help President Trump send the National Guard to the border, but in a limited capacity.

A U.S. Homeland Security Department spokesman says the federal government is committed to working with California Gov.

As stated by one US official, the California Guard has suggested putting about 40 troops to marijuana eradication across the state.

Last week, Brown pledged 400 troops to Mr. Trump's border mission on the condition that they have nothing to do with immigration enforcement.

Doug Ducey, the Republican governor of Arizona, one of four southern border states, was eager for troops from his state to join the effort.

"They will not perform law enforcement functions", reiterated Bob Salesses, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Homeland Defense Integration and Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA).

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The centerpiece of Trump's first visit to California as president last month was surveying eight border-wall prototypes on display in a dusty lot near the U.S. -Mexico border outside San Diego.

Ronald Vitiello, the Border Patrol's acting deputy commissioner, said talks with California were ongoing and it was possible the state would lend troops for other support roles, including maritime and aerial surveillance, which include counternarcotics work.

The border mission could require up to 4,000 Guard personnel, but Pentagon officials now see a need for about 2,000 Guard members, said Robert Salesses, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Homeland Defense Integration. Keegan released a statement saying, "the federal government has not yet responded and added that the next step is for the federal government to respond by signing the Memorandum of Agreement". He will send 400 troops to assist with stopping drug and human trafficking, but they will not cooperate with detaining illegal immigrants, Brown informed the White House last week. He then clarified that the California National Guard had indicated that it would not perform certain missions that the Border Patrol requested, as they "know them to be right now".

Defense Secretary James N. Mattis authorized up to 4,000 National Guard troops for the mission.

Texas, Arizona and New Mexico have already agreed to the Trump administration's request for National Guard support.

Brown's no suggestion went on to state: "That is not going to become a mission to build a new wall socket". "We are in continuing dialogue - discussion - with the California National Guard and will work closely with Chief Vitiello to see if there's other kinds of responsibilities that California might fill".

It is unclear at this point what specific jobs the troops would, or would not, perform at the border.

"We've got a signal from the governor that he's not participating", Vitiello said.

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