SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Gov. Jerry Brown said Wednesday that he would join President Donald Trump’s border mission by contributing up to 400 National Guard troops, announcing a deal after a week of uncertainty about how to accomplish a deployment that focuses largely on illegal immigration and honor the governor’s insistence that troops avoid immigration-related work.
Brown said the Guard’s duties include fighting transnational criminal gangs and drug and gun smugglers in an order that reiterates his initial positions that the Guard cannot handle custody duties for anyone accused of immigration violations, build border barriers or have anything to do with immigration enforcement.
The Department of Defense will find the money to pay for National Guard troops to work along the United States’ southern border, but the total cost for that is impossible to know at this time.
The terms are similar to those outlined in a contract Brown proposed last week, which the Trump administration decided not to sign because it was not usual protocol. Brown’s office said the signatures were unnecessary after he secured federal funding for his goals.
The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Brown said some troops may be deployed this month and are expected to stay until at least Sept. 30. They will be assigned to all parts of the state, not just the border.
Federal officials said Brown refused to commit troops to jobs that were similar to Guard assignments in the three other border states — Arizona, New Mexico and Texas — all governed by Republicans. Trump bashed Brown’s position two days in a row, while the governor sounded optimistic that a deal would be reached soon.
“There’s been a little bit of back and forth, as you always get with bureaucrats but I think we can find common understanding here,” he said Tuesday. “There’s enough problems at the border and the interface between our countries that California will have plenty to do — and we’re willing to do it.”