The #Resistence may be thrilled, but Brown’s caveat purely self-aggrandizing
After days of speculation, California decided Wednesday that it will comply with federal requests to deploy National Guard personnel to the border California shares with Mexico.
The California National Guard will accept federal money to beef up border security, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement published Wednesday morning.
…The deployment’s purpose is to supplement California’s existing efforts to “combat transnational crime,” Brown said. Already at the state’s 140.4-mile border with Mexico are 55 servicemembers on that mission.
However, there is an important restriction on how the California troops can be deployed. None of the personnel will be allowed to assist federal immigration enforcement, or do much in terms of actual border security.
…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.
Brown’s caveat is little more than political posturing. When Bush and Obama requested National Guard Troops to assist Customs and Border Patrol Agents, the National Guard served as support, leaving all enforcement matters to CBP. In doing so, they freed up cumbersome administrative duties, allowing Border Patrol Officers to focus on enforcement.
President Trump’s goal is to send 4,000 National Guard members to the border. Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas have already made pledges that add up to almost half of the up the target.
Pentagon just released new details about the types of activities National Guard troops would perform at the U.S.-Mexico border.
National Guard troops will provide air support through drones and light-, medium- and heavy-lift helicopters, Lt. Col. Jamie Davis, a Defense Department spokesman, said in a statement to The Washington Post. They will also help maintain roads and other infrastructure, clear vegetation and assist with facility maintenance, in addition to operating surveillance systems, including cameras and blimps, Davis said.
They will not be arresting migrants or carrying out armed patrols along the border.
Describing the mission as a support role for the Department of Homeland Security, Davis confirmed that the troops won’t necessarily carry weapons. “National Guard personnel will only be armed for their own self-protection to the extent required by the circumstances of the mission they are performing,” Davis said.
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