California rejects proposed border duties for troops, USA says


Lt. Gen. David Hokanson, vice chief of the National Guard, said that while the president had said up to 4,000 troops could deploy, the current request for assistance is 2,000 through September 30. Almost 250 were in Arizona, more than 60 in New Mexico and about 650 in Texas.

Acting Deputy Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Ron Vitiello told Breitbart News in a joint CBP-Department of Defense-National Guard Bureau briefing that same afternoon that the troops were offered to California to support the El Centro and San Diego Border Patrol sectors.

The move comes after California's governor said the troops would participate, but not in immigration enforcement. Keegan released a statement saying, "the federal government has not yet responded and added that the next step is for the federal government to respond by signing the Memorandum of Agreement".

The Trump administration says it will send as many as 4,000 to cope with a jump in illegal crossings, after arrests along the Mexico border hit their highest level in 15 months.

In an April 4 memo to the secretary of Homeland Security and the attorney general, President Donald Trump said the troops were needed to curb drugs, gangs and illegal crossings on the USA border with Mexico.

'The governor has determined that what we have asked for so far is unsupportable, ' Vitiello told reporters.

However, previous presidents also saw the need to deploy the National Guard to assist Border Protection agents in the area.

Discussions covered deployments of Guard forces to the border under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and what the requirements would be in various sectors along the almost 2,000-mile border.

On Monday, the Associated Press reported that California had "rejected the federal government's initial plans for National Guard troops to the border".

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"They will not perform law enforcement functions, and they will not be placed in direct contact with personnel coming to the border", Salesses explained.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense Integration Robert G. Salesses said the administration wanted 237 troops for work in two parts of the state that California "has indicated they will not perform". The other border-state governors - all Republicans - have openly embraced Trump's plans. The Arizona National Guard said last week that its troops will provide air and ground support.

Jerry Brown elicited rare and effusive praise from President Donald Trump last week after he pledged 400 troops to the Guard's third large-scale border mission since 2006.

"Let's be crystal clear on the scope of this mission", Brown wrote in the letter to defense secretary James Mattis and Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

Nearly immediately, former Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) sent a letter to Governor Brown urging him to ignore President Trump's request. It will not be a mission to round up woman and children or detain people escaping violence and seeking a better life.

The Democratic governor cast his decision as a welcome infusion of support paid for by the USA government to fight transnational criminal gangs and drug and firearms smugglers.

That agreement seemed to have fallen apart by Monday, however.

Vitiello emphasized that California may participate in other ways that must still be worked out.