California rejected President Trump's plans to send National Guard troops to the US-Mexico border because the work is considered too closely tied to immigration enforcement, two USA officials told The Associated Press.
But on Monday, he pulled out of the administration's border-state program completely because the administration's requested services - including surveillance and engineering work - are closely related to immigration enforcement.
Acting U.S. Customs and Border Protection Deputy Commissioner Ronald D. Vitiello said California's governor determined that some tasks federal officials want the state's National Guard to perform at the border were "unsupportable". "I am deeply troubled by the Trump Administration's plan to militarize the United States-Mexico border and write to urge you to reject requests to deploy the California National Guard to assist in an ill-defined mission to address a nonexistent threat,"de Leon wrote".
The move got under the skin of Trump, who last week applauded Brown for initially deciding to send California Guard troops south.
Three out of four states along the border with Mexico have deployed just over 900 National Guard troops in support of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
"The California National Guard has indicated they will not perform those missions", Defense Department official Robert Salesses told reporters at a briefing Monday.
Salesses, the Pentagon official, said the Border Patrol had asked California to send 237 troops to the agency's San Diego and El Centro sectors, but state officials panned the request.More news: Plastic-eating enzyme could help fight pollution, scientists say
Mattis authorized the use of Title 32 duty status and DoD funds for up to 4,000 National Guard personnel to support DHS's southern border security mission while under the command and control of their respective governors through September 30.
Brown and other state officials, however, have said in recent days there is no massive flow of undocumented immigrants moving from Mexico into the Golden State. "The next step is for the federal government to respond by signing the [deal]". California National Guard members have done such work in previous border deployments.
Nearly 250 troops from Arizona, 60 from New Mexico and 650 from Texas have deployed - all volunteers, Hokanson said.
Vitiello said Guardsmen would most likely not be armed, but individual states might allow the carrying of a weapon in certain missions.
Talks are ongoing and the federal government has yet to publicly respond to Brown's demand that troops avoid immigration enforcement or the state's position on avoiding the specific jobs proposed, the officials said.
It will be up to governors and adjutant generals of each state participating to decide of guard members will carry their personal weapons for self-defense, Hokanson said.
The troops will not perform any functions that would place them in direct contact with personnel on the border, and none of the jobs they will do will call for them to be armed, he said.
The Arizona National Guard said last week that its troops will provide air and ground support. CBP is also looking for support at ports of entry.