SACRAMENTO (CN) — Rebutting reports that California spurned the Trump administration’s plan to send the National Guard to the border, California officials said Monday that the state has not backed out of an agreement with the federal government.
Officials said an Associated Press report that the state rejected the federal government’s requests to have California National Guard personnel perform certain tasks near the border was “inaccurate.”
The AP cited two unnamed federal officials who said “talks soured” regarding the jobs California troops would perform on the border.
According to the disputed report, California didn’t want its personnel fixing vehicles or monitoring surveillance cameras, among other assignments.
“State officials have not rejected anything since the governor responded to the federal government last Wednesday with the proposed Memorandum of Agreement between the state of California and the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security,’” California National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Tom Keegan said in a statement.
“The federal government has not yet responded. The next step is for the federal government to respond by signing the [deal].”
In a move that surprised some members of his party, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown complied with President Trump’s call for more troops to the Mexican border. But Brown promised California residents that the 400 troops will “not be enforcing federal immigration laws,” and cast the commitment as aimed at stopping gangs and drug smugglers.
“This will not be a mission to build a new wall. It will not be a mission to round up women and children or detain people escaping violence and seeking a better life,” Brown said.
Tyler Houlton, DHS press secretary, said in a tweet Monday afternoon that the department is actively working with Gov. Brown.
“Governor Brown has stated publicly that he shares our interest in securing our southern border,” Houlton tweeted. “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.”
Los Angeles Democrat Kevin de Leon, state senator and candidate for U.S. Senate, said the National Guard would be better used helping recovery efforts in Puerto Rico, and that the California-Mexico border is strong enough.
“Therefore, I don’t think it’s prudent to deploy the National Guard to militarize the border,” he said in a statement.
One day after the announcement, President Trump applauded California’s participation in beefing up border security.
“Thank you Jerry, good move for the safety of our Country!” Trump tweeted.
The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a question about the accuracy of the AP story published Monday morning.
Brown and the Republican governors of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona have committed to sending a total of 2,000 troops to the border.
California also sent its National Guard to the border under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
“We cannot let people enter our country,” Trump said. “We don’t know if they are murderers, if they’re killers, if they’re MS-13.”