California Governor Jerry Brown has not refused President Donald Trump’s call to deploy the California National Guard to assist interdictions of illegal immigrants and drugs along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Brown has called President Trump’s opposition to California’s “sanctuary state” laws a danger to public safety and a violation of residents’ civil rights. Breitbart News has reported that due to policy disagreements, California has sued the Trump Administration over two dozen times.
But Governor Brown has stayed quiet for the four days since Trump issued his April 4 proclamation authorizing deployment of state National Guard units to the Mexican border in support of the U.S. Border Patrol’s mission to “stop the stream of illegal immigration” and put an end to the practice of “catch-and -release.”
The action by the Trump administration, which is expected to involve 2,000 to 4,000 soldiers and airmen, is substantially similar to action taken by the last five presidents.
In June 2010, President Barack Obama executed Operation Phalanx under Title 10 of the United States Code, which allows the U.S. Secretary of Defense to take command and control of the 50 Ssate National Guards for domestic needs. Obama requested — and the governors of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas agreed — to supply 1,200 volunteer soldiers and airmen for a mission along the 1,933-mile southwest border to support U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency drug interdiction efforts with enhanced “identification, criminal analysis, and command and control.”
Operation Phalanx was credited with helping the seizure of more than 14,000 pounds of drugs, apprehension of more than 64,000 illegal immigrants, and the confiscation of millions of dollars in illicit currency before it was terminated on September 30, 2011.
California also fully complied with a 2006 through 2008 request by President George W. Bush to deploy 6,000 National Guardsmen to the Mexican border states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.
The governors of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Iowa and other states have already come out in support of the new National Guard deployments, but the Democrat governors of Oregon and Montana are refusing to participate.
Brown’s press secretary acknowledged that the governor has had several personal phone calls with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and other federal law enforcement officials. But his office has referred all questions about potential deployments directly to the California National Guard command center.
California National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Tom Keegan pointed out to Capital Public Radio that California currently has 56 National Guardsmen participating with the Border Patrol.
Lt. Col Keegan stated that the Guard is reviewing the funding for, and duration of, the deployment, He added, “This request — as with others we’ve received from the Department of Homeland Security, including those for additional staffing in 2006 and 2010 — will be promptly reviewed to determine how best we can assist our federal partners.”
U.S. Presidents since William Taft in 1910 have called out the National Guard units for “non-traditional missions.” Many deployments have been in support of federal law enforcement agencies and local police in counter-drug operations.
California was the first U.S. state to express concerns about drug problems due to Chinese laborers bringing in opium in the late nineteenth century. The City of San Francisco enacted America’s first anti-drug laws by making opium dens illegal in 1875.
By 1912, nearly every state had laws controlling the distribution of cocaine and other drugs. The U.S. Congress passed the Harrison Act in 1914, which federalized enforcement against illegal drugs and distribution.