California Hasn't Committed To Sending National Guard Troops To Border

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen briefs the press on the proposal to deploy the National Guard to the border

A plan to send National Guard troops to the Mexico border by the Trump Administration has been warmly welcomed by the Republican governors of Texas and Arizona, but California has so far hedged on whether it will cooperate with the White House's latest anti-illegal immigrant plan. 

“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,” California National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Tom Keegan said in a statement issued on behalf of Brown’s office. “We look forward to more detail, including funding, duration and end state."

The plan floated by President Donald Trump during a press conference on Tuesday has so far come without much in the way of specific plans. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told reporters on Wednesday the plan to send troops to the border was based on a need to prevent "unacceptable levels of illegal drugs, dangerous gang activity, transnational criminal organizations, and illegal immigration," from coming across the U.S.-Mexico border. 

The White House released a statement saying the move would assist the Border Patrol and give the agents the support they deserve. National Guard troops would "remain in a support role until Congress takes the action necessary to close the loopholes undermining our border security efforts." 

The Republican governor of Texas Greg Abbot issued a statement welcoming the administration's move.  

"My top priority as governor is ensuring the safety and security of Texans and securing out southern border has always been essential to that mission," said Governor Abbott. "In my time as Governor, Texas has maintained a continuous presence of National Guard members along the border, and we've added hundreds of permanent Department of Public Safety troopers to the region." 

A fact sheet from the National Guard says the president does have the powers to "federalize" the National Guard, but it would involve calling them into active military service. However those types of powers are meant for situations like local rebellions, and that's not what the Trump Administration is proposing with this move. 

That would give California's officials a veto over the deployment to their border, and they'd be the state who would be most likely to use it. California Gov. Jerry Brown has openly feuded with the Trump Administration over its immigration policies. Last month the Justice Department sued California over its so-called "sanctuary state" policies. 

It wouldn't be the first time the California National Guard has been deployed to the border with Mexico. In 2010, the Obama Administration sent National Guard troops to the border, and again under George W. Bush. 

The 2006 deployment almost didn't happen after Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger fought with the White House over how many guardsmen would be deployed and who would pay for it. 

Currently, about 55 members of the California National Guard are stationed on the border as part of Cal Guard's Counterdrug program that provides support to state and federal law enforcement efforts. 

Photo: Getty Images

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