(CBS SF) — California Gov. Jerry Brown agreed Wednesday to deploy 400 National Guard troops at President Donald Trump’s request, but not all will head to the U.S.-Mexico border as Trump wants and none will enforce federal immigration enforcement.
In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Defense Secretary James Mattis, the Democratic governor insisted the deployment would not be to further the Trump administration’s immigration policies. “But let’s by crystal clear on the scope of this 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,” said Brown in the letter.
Instead, Brown said the troops would join an existing program to combat transnational drug crime, firearms smuggling and human trafficking. They would join 250 existing California National Guard troops, including 55 who are at the border.
Trump wants up to 4,000 troops sent to the border to combat illegal immigration and drug trafficking and has already won commitments for about 1,600 from the Republican governors of the other states that border Mexico — Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
The California Guard members may be deployed at the border, the coast and elsewhere statewide, Brown said.
The federal government must agree to the terms before the troops would be deployed.
California deployed troops to the border under former Presidents George W. Bush in 2006 and Barack Obama in 2010.
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