California And Pentagon Still At Odds Over Guard Deployment
Monday, April 16, 2018
Photo by Brandon Quester/inewsource
Plans to call up the California National Guard to help with border operations haven't been finalized. Despite praise from the president, the Pentagon says the two sides haven’t reached an agreement.
There was a rare, if fleeting, moment of agreement between California and the Trump Administration. Last week California Governor Jerry Brown agreed to join Texas, New Mexico and Arizona and call up 400 guard troops on the president's request. At the time, President Trump praised the governor on Twitter.
But Pentagon officials briefed reporters Monday that talks have stalled regarding how those troops will be used. Brown wants to bolster current guard missions to fight drugs and terrorism. In the three other border states, the troops are deployed along the border in supporting roles to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
“Internally there have been reviews of which positions that are currently occupied by patrol agents that could be occupied by a guardsman,” said Joshua Wilson, spokesman for the National Border Patrol Council Local 163, the union which represents border patrol agents in San Diego.
Planning is underway to find support roles like surveillance and vehicle maintenance, which would free up border patrol agents in California, he said.
California guard spokesman Lt. Col. Thomas Keegan said California is still waiting for a formal response from the Pentagon. He refuted stories from earlier Monday, which indicated California had walked away from talks with the federal government.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tyler Houlton struck a conciliatory tone in a statement on Twitter.
"Governor Brown has stated publicly that he shares our interest in securing our southern border. DHS and our federal partners are committed to working with the governor to mobilize the California National Guard to assist DHS’ frontline personnel in our vital missions," the statement read.
Trump is the third president in a row to ask California to send troops the border.
Despite a rare moment of agreement between California and the Trump Administration, the two sides have so far not reached an agreement to call up the California National Guard as part of a multi-state effort.
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