California informed federal officials it will not allow its troops to fix and repair vehicles, operate remotely-controlled surveillance cameras to report suspicious activity to the Border Patrol, operate radios and provide “mission support.”
But the Democratic Brown conditioned his support by insisting that California’s troops have nothing to do with immigration enforcement. He was not specific about jobs his troops would or would not perform or how he would distinguish between immigration-related work and going after criminal gangs and drug and gun smugglers.
California National Guard spokesperson 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 spokesperson for the governor, did not immediately answer detailed question about California’s rejection of specific guard duties.
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 vehicle maintenance and the other jobs outlined for an initial phase across the border in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, the U.S. officials said. The other border-state governors — all Republicans — have openly embraced Trump’s plans.
The state’s position infuriated some federal officials because the restrictions California officials wanted to impose on what the state’s troops would not do were considered onerous, the officials said.
Brown last week characterized his decision to contribute troops as a welcome infusion of federally-funded support to fight transnational criminal gangs and drug and firearms smugglers. According to one U.S. official, the California Guard has suggested assigning about 40 troops to marijuana eradication across the state.