SAN DIEGO, US.- California has rejected terms of the federal government’s initial plans for sending National Guard troops to the border because the work is considered too closely tied to immigration, two U.S. officials told The Associated Press.
Gov. Jerry Brown elicited rare and effusive praise from President Donald Trump last week for pledging 400 troops to the Guard’s third large-scale border mission since 2006.
But the Democratic governor conditioned his commitment on troops having nothing to do with immigration enforcement, even in a supporting role.
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.
Brown’s offer of troops for the mission that Trump wants up to 4,000 troops to perform is still in place.
But state authorities told federal officials late last week that the California Guard will not perform tasks in an initial rollout planned for all four border states, according to officials with knowledge of the talks who spoke condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.
Those jobs include fixing and maintaining vehicles, using remote-control surveillance cameras to report suspicious activity to U.S. border patrol agents, operating radios and providing “mission support,” which can include clerical work, buying gas and handling payroll, the officials said.
California National Guard members have done such work in previous border deployments. Talks are ongoing and the federal government has yet to publicly respond to Brown’s demand that troops avoid immigration enforcement or the state’s position on avoiding the specific jobs proposed, the officials said.