California Gov. Jerry Brown announced Wednesday that he will accept federal funds to add National Guard members to a statewide anti-crime program, but did not say how many of those troops would go to the U.S.-Mexico border as a part of President Donald Trump’s order.
In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Pentagon chief Jim Mattis, Brown said 400 additional National Guard Troops would join the 250 assigned to an ongoing program to combat transnational crime. The additional staffing will allow the Guard to support law enforcement operations against transnational gangs, human traffickers and drug smugglers “throughout the state,” he said.
Brown did not specify how many of the new troops would be sent to the border, where California already has 55 guardsmen.
“The location of Guard personnel — and number specifically working in support of operations along the border, the coast and elsewhere in the state — will be dictated by the needs on the ground,” a spokesperson for the governor’s office told The Daily Caller News Foundation in an email.
Until Brown’s letter on Wednesday, California had been the only border state that had not authorized a deployment of National Guard troops to support Trump’s border security mission. Texas, New Mexico and Arizona have thus far pledged a combined deployment of 1,588 Guard members, 700 of which have already arrived on the border. The remainder are expected to arrive later this month.
In keeping with his previous rhetoric against Trump’s immigration agenda, Brown emphasized the California guardsmen will not be permitted to arrest border jumpers or other illegal immigrants.
“This will not be a mission to build a new wall,” Brown wrote. “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.”
Mattis signed a memo on Friday that authorized the federal government to fund up to 4,000 National Guard troops for the border mission through September.
“The National Guard’s efforts will include aviation, engineer, surveillance, communications, vehicle maintenance and logistics support,” Chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White said in a statement last week, according to ABC News. “These National Guard members will act in support of Border Patrol agents who are performing law enforcement duties.”
The orders were similar to those given to National Guard troops in similar border deployments under former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
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