California Agrees to Deploy National Guard to Border

California Governor Jerry Brown (Max Whittaker/Reuters)

California governor Jerry Brown has agreed to deploy National Guard troops to help fight transnational gangs along the southern border, as long as they do not perform work that is directly immigration-related.

After days of stymieing the Trump administration’s request for California’s troops to assist border-patrol officials, Brown on Wednesday deployed up to 400 troops to “combat criminal gangs, human traffickers and illegal firearm and drug smugglers — within the state, along the coast and at the U.S.-Mexico border.”

The governor made very clear that his federally funded deal with the Department of Homeland Security stipulates the troops cannot be directly involved in immigration-law enforcement. The California troops cannot help build President Trump’s proposed border wall or take persons into custody for immigration offenses.

“California National Guard service members shall not engage in any direct law enforcement role nor enforce immigration laws, arrest people for immigration law violations, guard people taken into custody for alleged immigration violations, or support immigration law enforcement activities,” Brown’s order read.

California’s delay had frustrated President Trump, who lashed out at the governor earlier this week.

Trump announced at the beginning of this month that the troops were necessary to crack down on “illegal drugs, dangerous gang activity, and extensive illegal immigration.”

California’s National Guard troops will remain active on the border until at least the end of the fiscal year, September 30. They will join the troops from other states already at the border, who have so far assisted mainly with surveillance and repairing vehicles.

Update 1:30pm:

President Trump again blasted the California governor on Thursday, saying Brown had deployed the troops to “do nothing.”

The federal government will not be paying for Brown’s “charade,” Trump said.

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