California Gov. Jerry Brown has agreed to send about 400 National Guardsmen to the southern border as part of the Trump administration’s overall border security boost.
In a letter Wednesday to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Defense Secretary James Mattis, Brown wrote that the state would accept federal funding “to supplement the staffing of its ongoing program to combat transnational crime,” which is currently staffed by 250 personnel statewide, with 55 at the Mexican border.
“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,” Brown wrote. “Combating these criminal threats are priorities for all Americans — Republicans and Democrats. That’s why the state and the Guard have long supported this important work and agreed to similar targeted assistance in 2006 under President Bush and in 2010 under President Obama.”
“But let’s be 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.”
Brown stressed that “there is no massive wave of migrants pouring into California,” and noted “overall immigrant apprehensions on the border last year were as low as they’ve been in nearly 50 years (and 85 percent of the apprehensions occurred outside of California).”
“I agree with the Catholic Bishops who have said that local, state and federal officials should ‘work collaboratively and prudently in the implementation of this deployment, ensuring that the presence of the National Guard is measured and not disruptive to community life,'” the governor wrote. “I look forward to working with you on this important effort.”
President Trump tweeted today, “California Governor Jerry Brown is doing the right thing and sending the National Guard to the Border. Thank you Jerry, good move for the safety of our Country!”