President Donald Trump lashed out at California Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday, complaining on Twitter that the Democrat is forbidding his state’s National Guard troops from helping to secure the U.S.-Mexico border.
Brown offered last week to send 400 troops, but insisted that they couldn’t perform any duty that was part of border-control enforcement – a list that includes vehicle maintenance, radio communications, buying gasoline, handling payroll and clerical work.
‘Looks like Jerry Brown and California are not looking for safety and security along their very porous Border. He cannot come to terms for the National Guard to patrol and protect the Border,’ the president tweeted Tuesday.
‘The high crime rate will only get higher. Much wanted Wall in San Diego already started!’
President Donald Trump targeted California’s Democratic governor on Tuesday, blasting him for refusing to let his state’s National Guard troops participate in border-control activities
Trump had praised Jerry Brown, but that was before the governor set limits that would prohibit his Guard detachment from filling gas tanks and doing payroll – anything tied to border control
Soldiers from the Texas Army National Guard keep watch on the banks of the Rio Grande, where some of them will be armed where necessary
Talks between U.S. and California officials about the duties the California troops would perform soured Friday and over the weekend after state authorities told federal officials that they would not participate in the jobs outlined for California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas border control.
The other border-state governors – all Republicans – have openly embraced Trump’s plans.
Brown hasn’t explicitly outlined how he would distinguish between immigration-related work and going after criminal gangs and drug and gun smugglers.
He had originally elicited rare and effusive praise from the president last week after he said he would participate in the Guard’s third large-scale border mission since 2006.
At the time, the decision allowed Trump to boast support from all four border-state governors and helped put the president above the lower end of his threshold of marshaling 2,000 to 4,000 troops that he wants as a border security mission to fight illegal immigration and drug trafficking.
So far about 960 have arrived. Texas has seen the biggest deployment, with 650 sent to the border, while Arizona has dispatched 250, and New Mexico about 60.
Trump believes that Brown wants a ‘porous’ border, but he will have National Guard troops from three other states helping to secure it while his long-promised wall is built
A National Guard troop watches over Rio Grande River on the border in Roma, Texas on Wednesday. The deployment of National Guard members to the U.S.-Mexico border at President Donald Trump’s request was underway last Tuesday with a gradual ramp-up of troops under orders to help curb illegal immigration
California National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Thomas Keegan said Monday that the state was awaiting a formal response from the administration and had no additional details beyond the governor’s proposed agreement released last week that includes a ban on immigration enforcement.
Evan Westrup, a spokesman for the governor, did not immediately answer detailed question about California’s rejection of specific guard duties.
Ron Vitiello, the acting deputy commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection, said Brown had declined the initial roles put forward for Guardsmen.
‘The governor has determined that what we have asked for so far is unsupportable,’ Vitiello told reporters.
‘We’ve made this refined request, it’s gone through the process and then we’ve got a signal from the governor that he is not participating.’
Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary Bob Salesses said the initial request envisioned sending 237 Guardsmen to two main crossing areas in Southern California, where they would have conducted maintenance, clerical assistance and helped with heavy equipment operations, among other tasks.
‘The California National Guard has indicated that they will not perform those missions as we know them to be right now,’ Salesses said, though he noted that conversations were ongoing.
Vitiello, too, suggested that the state’s Guard might ultimately be used in other roles, including possibly cargo inspection.
‘We will have other iterations,’ Vitiello said.
Trump this month said he would send thousands of National Guard troops to the southern border, where they could remain until a border wall is constructed.
Vitiello said Guardsmen would most likely not be armed, but individual states might allow the carrying of a weapon in certain missions.
California is at the forefront of what opponents call a ‘resistance’ to Trump’s administration, with the heavily Democratic state suing the federal government over numerous issues, including the rollback of environmental regulations.
Several cities including Los Angeles are ‘sanctuary cities’ that require local law enforcement agencies not to tell federal agents about residents’ legal status.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has sued the state over three statutes that support cities and counties that refuse to hand over illegal immigrants to federal immigration authorities for prosecution or deportation.