California just agreed to boost National Guard presence at border

Matt Saintsing
April 11, 2018 - 4:49 pm

Photo by John Gibbins/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS

California will send 400 National Guard Troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, the last border state to deploy forces at the request of President Donald Trump.

Gov. Jerry Brown said Wednesday that California will accept federal funding and in turn will deploy 400 guardsmen to help with border and immigration issues at their border and inside the state.

"Your funding for new staffing will allow the Guard to do what it does best: support operations targeting transnational criminal gangs, human traffickers, and illegal firearm and drug smugglers along the border, the coast and throughout the state," said Brown.

"Combating these criminal threats are priorities for all Americans — Republicans and Democrats," he noted, adding that California had previously worked with former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

But, Brown also said that the mission will be limited in scope and will not involve building a wall or detaining individuals.

"This will not be a mission to build a new wall. It will not be a mission to round up women and children or detain people escaping violence and seeking a better life. And the California National Guard will not be enforcing federal laws," he said.

On Monday, Border Patrol officials said at a press conference in New Mexico that National Guard troops aren’t being sent to the border to arrest illegal entrants, but to help relieve some of the normal pressures local and federal law enforcement faces.

"They have capabilities to provide for us that can make it much easier for us to secure the border — things like air support, repairing, creating infrastructure to assist us, logistical support, assisting with surveillance capabilities," El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Aaron E. Hull told reporters Monday.

"They're going to be providing administration support, not providing any law enforcement assistance. We provide all the law enforcement response."

The 400 California guardsmen will join some 500 other troops already at the border. Texas, Arizona and New Mexico have pledged 1,600 troops to help Border Patrol agents. Brown had been the only governor of a border state not to support the deployment, until now.