CALIFORNIA—California Governor Jerry Brown announced Wednesday, April 18 that he will deploy as many as 400 National Guard troops to the California border, joining the rest of the border states at President Donald Trump’s request, who have already committed to sending more troops to the border.
In a general order issued by Governor Brown, he explained the coordination between federal and state departments and the purpose of the deployment. The objective of the deployment will be to combat transnational crime and to “disrupt transnational criminal gangs and human traffickers and illegal firearm and drug smugglers.” The troops will be expected to help prevent illegal drug and firearm shipments and help with counter drug and narco-terrorism operations.
The controversial provision from Governor Brown includes instructions, where he prohibits the California National Guard from participation in federal immigration laws or any barrier construction:
“California National Guard service members shall not engage in any direct law enforcement role nor enforce immigration laws, arrest people for immigration law violations, guard people taken into custody for alleged immigration violations, or support immigration law enforcement activities. California National Guard service members shall not participate in the construction of any new border barrier,” Brown wrote.
Kirstjen Nielsen, the Homeland Security Secretary, welcomed the deployment via Twitter “Just spoke w @JerryBrownGov about deploying the @USNationalGuard in California. Final details are being worked out but we are looking forward to the support. Thank you Gov Brown!”
Brown’s restrictions on his troop deployment garnered criticism from President Trump, who tweeted on April 19, “The crime rate in California is high enough, and the Federal Government will not be paying for Governor Brown’s charade. We need border security and action, not words!”
It is unclear why President Trump said he would withhold funding for California’s National Guard deployment. On Thursday, the Pentagon sent written confirmation to the California National Guard stating that it would fund their mission.
Governor Brown remains steadfast in the limited scope of his mission, “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 immigration laws.”
“This order will remain in effect until September 30, 2018 unless further modified or rescinded in writing by me,” wrote Brown.