Two hundred National Guard troops are now set to be stationed in the San Diego and El Centro sectors of the U.S. southern border in California, after a virtual ping-pong rally on whether or not California Gov. Jerry Brown would accept them.
The California National Guard notified members on April 20 to report for duty. Approximately 200 of these were set to report on Saturday at Camp Roberts, where they will be receiving their training and meet leadership teams.
Upon completion of their training, the Guard members will be deployed to the San Diego and El Centro sectors of the U.S. southern border. This could happen as soon as mid-week in the coming week.
Guard members will participate in a variety of activities, according to the California National Guard:
There, they will support federal efforts to target and prosecute transnational criminal gangs, human traffickers and illegal firearm and drug smugglers by providing: counterdrug surveillance, intelligence gathering, camera monitoring, paralegal work, telecommunications equipment installation and maintenance, heavy equipment operation, physical infrastructure maintenance, and administrative and logistical assistance.
Currently, California hosts 250 Guardsmen and women combatting transnational drug crime. Fifty-five of those have been serving at the southern border. The additional 200 Guard members will supplement these existing Guard troops. Full operational capability of the new troops will fall within the scope of that of the 2006 and 2010 deployments — 77 days and 58 days, respectively.
The operation will continue until September 30, 2018, at least. Guard troops are to be focused on combatting transnational criminal gangs, human traffickers, and illegal firearm and drug smugglers. They will not participate in any direct law enforcement or immigration enforcement activities, as both California and federal government officials have repeatedly said. Troops will also not participate in the building of any new border barrier.
On April 4, President Donald Trump and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced they would be sending National Guard troops to the border in the four southern border states, in cooperation with those states’ governors. White the governors of Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico swiftly accepted, California’s Gov. Brown initially lay quiet.
On April 11 Brown signed a letter accepting those troops. However, confusion ensued as California and federal officials disagreed on the activities in which Guard members would participate. Further negotiations led to an agreement and the deployment of these 200 troops.
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