California has rejected President Trump's effort to send National Guard troops to the Mexican border because the work is considered too closely tied to immigration enforcement.
Troops will not be allowed 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, the state reportedly told federal officials. According to one US official, the California Guard has suggested assigning about 40 troops to marijuana eradication across the state.
But given the virulent context brought about by President Trump's avowed campaign against immigration, Democratic leaders throughout California - including the Democratic candidates for governor - had urged Brown to reject Trump's request for troops.
"We are anticipating additional requirements, and we got a signal from California that they are interested in improving border security", Vitiello said.
Just how limited became clearer Monday after California's National Guard told Homeland Security officials the state will not allow soldiers to do the types of things they're doing elsewhere on the border: monitoring surveillance cameras, performing maintenance and transporting USA border agents.
"The federal government has not yet responded", Keegan said in an emailed statement.
Mr. Brown faced severe criticism at home after he said last week he would be willing to offer some 400 National Guard troops to President Trump's border surge, under strict conditions.
California is the only border state to refuse to Trump's request.
The troops in California are under the command of Gov.
Trump wants to send up to 4,000 troops to the border and has commitments for about 2,400 from those states and California.
Rather, the California-based troops would focus on transnational gangs, human trafficking, and arms and drug smuggling "throughout the state", Brown said in the April 11 letter.
A National Guard troop watches over Rio Grande River on the border in Roma, Texas on Wednesday.
His comments came after federal officials said Brown wouldn't allow troops to perform tasks that were planned for an initial rollout but that they would continue working with the governor to collaborate in other ways.
Vitiello, too, suggested that the state's Guard might ultimately be used in other roles, including possibly cargo inspection.
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 Democratic governor cast his decision as a welcome infusion of support paid for by the US government to fight transnational criminal gangs and drug and firearms smugglers. General Daniel R. Hokanson, the National Guard Bureau's vice chief. The other border-state governors have all embraced Trump's plans, with Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas pledging nearly half of the up to 4,000 troops Trump requested.
He mentioned adding capacity in CBP air and marine operations besides what the Guard would bring in aviation support. Texas has seen the biggest deployment, with 650 sent to the border, while Arizona has dispatched 250, and New Mexico about 60.
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