California Rejects Border Duties for Its National Guard Troops

Says some jobs federal government wants done are too closely tied to immigration enforcement
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 16, 2018 3:41 PM CDT
California Rejects Border Duties for Its National Guard Troops
FILE - In this Aug. 11, 2017, file photo, the sun sets over the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, home to 400-plus species of birds and several endangered wildcats, in Alamo, Texas. As hundreds of National Guard troops deploy to the U.S-Mexico border, residents of Texas' southernmost border region...   (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

California has rejected the federal government's initial plans for National Guard troops to the border because the work is considered too closely tied to immigration enforcement, two US officials tell the AP. The state informed federal officials it will not allow its troops to fix and repair vehicles, operate remotely-controlled surveillance cameras to report suspicious activity to the Border Patrol, operate radios, and provide "mission support," which can include clerical work, buying gas and handling payroll, according to officials with knowledge of the talks who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter. The state's position infuriated some federal officials because the restrictions California officials wanted to impose on what the state's troops would not do were considered onerous, the officials said.

California Gov. Jerry Brown last week pledged 400 troops to the Guard's third large-scale border mission since 2006, allowing President Trump to boast support from all four border-state governors and helping put him above the lower end of his threshold of marshaling 2,000 to 4,000 troops that he wants as a border security mission. But the Democratic Brown conditioned his support by insisting that California's troops have nothing to do with immigration enforcement. He was not specific about jobs his troops would or would not perform or how he would distinguish between immigration-related work and going after criminal gangs and drug and gun smugglers. Talks between US and California officials soured Friday and over the weekend after state authorities told federal officials that they would not participate in the above-mentioned jobs outlined for an initial phase across the border in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, the officials said. The other border-state governors—all Republicans—have openly embraced Trump's plans.

(More US-Mexico border stories.)

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