Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

No agreement yet on California National Guard's role at border

No agreement yet on California National Guard's role at border

California rejected President Trump's plans to send National Guard troops to the US-Mexico border because the work is considered too closely tied to immigration enforcement, two USA officials told The Associated Press.

What set Trump off was word that California's National Guard has told Homeland Security officials the state will not allow its soldiers to do the types of things others are doing elsewhere on the border: monitoring surveillance cameras, performing maintenance and transporting USA border agents.

In an April 4 memo to the secretary of Homeland Security and the attorney general, President Donald Trump said the troops were needed to curb drugs, gangs and illegal crossings on the US border with Mexico. Jerry Brown rejected terms of the National Guard's initial deployment to the Mexican border. He said that federal authorities were grateful for the support that they have, and that they would continue the discussion with California for future phases of the operation to "see if those fit better with sort of the results as we know them now". Last Week, Brown became the fourth to accept National Guard troops - but was very specific about not wanting them to patrol communities and enforce federal immigration law.

President Donald J. Trump authorized the National Guard, with the affected governors' approval, to enhance its support to U.S. Customs and Border Protection along the southern U.S. border.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense Integration Robert G. Salesses says officials wanted 237 for service in two areas of California with "a set of mission responsibility there that California National Guard has indicated they will not perform".

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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.

'The governor has determined that what we have asked for so far is unsupportable, ' Vitiello told reporters. President Trump has vowed to ship upto 4,000 troops into the border.

On Tuesday, Trump was back on Twitter, taking aim at Brown. The other border-state governors have openly embraced the Trump administration's plan, pledging combined deployment of about 1,600 Guard members along the southern borders of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.

"Therefore, I don't think it's prudent to deploy the National Guard to militarize the border", he said in a statement. Salesses said that the California Guard would not perform those missions.

The Associated Press reported the tenuous agreement between the federal government and the state soured over the weekend.

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The Arizona National Guard said last week that its troops will provide air and ground support.

During the presidential campaign and at times since taking office, Trump has railed against states like California and cities like Chicago, describing them as overrun with violent undocumented immigrants who pose a risk to the security and economic standing of his supporters.

It will be up to governors and adjutant generals of each state participating to decide of guard members will carry their personal weapons for self-defense, Hokanson said.

While California may not participate in the current "level one" operation, Vitiello explained that the state may be interested in subsequent levels.

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