California will send 400 National Guard troops to assist in the Trump administration’s plan to curb drug smugglers and human traffickers from across the border, ending speculation after several days of silence from Gov. Jerry Brown on the plan.
Not all the troops will be sent to the border, with deployment expected across the state based on need. In a letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, Brown said fighting threats to American security was a bipartisan task, but emphasized his troops wouldn’t be used as a makeshift wall.
“But let’s be crystal clear on the scope of this mission,” Brown wrote. “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 escaping violence and seeking a better life. And the California National Guard will not be enforcing federal immigration laws.”
California was the last state bordering Mexico to respond to the proposal, and is currently fighting multiple legal battles against the Trump administration over immigration, climate change,marijuana and more.
Brown also countered President Trump’s repeated claims about a surge in illegal activity, which the president used to justify his plan to send up to 4,000 troops to the border.
“Here are the facts: there is no massive wave of migrants pouring into California,” Brown wrote.
Trump signed the order last week to deploy National Guard troops to combat "lawlessness that continues at our southern border," through a provision in the U.S. Code called Title 32. This means troops are funded by the federal government, but are under the command of the state.
“The threat is real,” Secretary Nielsen said in a briefing with reporters last week. “This threatens not only the safety of our communities and children, but also our very rule of law, on which, as you know, our country was founded.”
Both former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama mobilized troops to the border in a similar way to help border patrol stop drugs and human smuggling. None of the National Guard troops as of now will engage in law enforcement, but instead assist border patrol with aerial surveillance, logistics, communications, and training.
Cover image: WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 11: US President Donald Trump listens to victims stories before signing H.R. 1865, the 'Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017' at The White House in Washington, DC, April 11, 2018. (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)