April 11 (UPI) — California agreed Wednesday to comply with federal requests increase National Guard operations along the state’s border with Mexico.
The California National Guard will accept federal funding “to add approximately 400 Guard members statewide to supplement the staffing of its ongoing program to combat transnational crime,” California Gov. Jerry Brown wrote in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Defense Secretary James Mattis.
“Your funding for new staffing will allow the Guard to do what it does best: support operations targeting transnational criminal gangs, human traffickers and illegal firearm and drug smugglers along the border, the coast and throughout the state,” Brown said.
Brown added the National Guard program is staffed by 250 personnel throughout the state, including 55 at the border, but the additional members won’t be used to enforce immigration laws.
“Let’s be crystal clear on the scope of this mission,” Brown said. “This will not be a mission to build a new wall. It will not be a mission to round up women and children or detain people escaping violence and seeking a better life. And the California National Guard will not be enforcing federal immigration laws.”
President Donald Trump said Thursday he was considering sending “anywhere from 2,000 to 4,000” troops to assist Border Patrol agents with guarding the border and halting what he described a “surge of illegal activity.”
Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott agreed to send up to 1,400 National Guard troops, while Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey agreed to send 350 and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez said she will deploy 250.