President Trump announced on Wednesday, April 4th that he planned to deploy the National Guard to patrol the U.S. – Mexican border to prevent illegal immigration. California Governor Jerry Brown, who is in charge of overseeing the deployment of National Guard troops in California, agreed to cooperate.
But why the request from the Trump administration to increase the number of troops on the border? The number of apprehensions at the U.S. border is at the lowest it has been in over 17 years. The Trump Administration believes that this number will increase in the future. Further, former Presidents George W. Bush and Obama both deployed troops to the border to enforce immigration, but at varied amounts of personnel, with the overall number of agents increasing dramatically since 1995.
The Trump Administration did not initially release any specifics about the number of troops, deployment times, or costs with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen stating, “I don’t want to get ahead of the governors. This is a partnership with them.”
California has 55 border patrol officers assisting in the prevention of illegal drugs and Governor Brown on Wednesday April 10th, announced that he would send an additional 400 National Guard members to patrol the border in response to President Trump’s announcement.
However, Governor Brown wrote in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Defense Secretary James N. Mattis. “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. And the California National Guard will not be enforcing federal immigration laws… Here are the facts: there is no massive wave of immigrants pouring into California. Overall immigration apprehensions on the border last year were as low as they’ve been in nearly 50 years (and 85 percent of the apprehensions occurred outside of California).”
President Trump himself tweeted: “California Governor Jerry Brown is doing the right thing and sending the National Guard to the Border. Thank you Jerry, good move for the safety of our Country!” Early Tuesday April 17th, President Trump changed his tune and criticized Governor Brown’s handling of the situation.
When asked about the disagreement, Governor Brown commented “Trying to stop drug smuggling, human trafficking and guns going to Mexico, to the cartels, that sounds to me like fighting crime. Trying to catch some desperate mothers and children or unaccompanied minors coming from Central America, that sounds like something else.” However, he announced that they were very close to an agreement about the National Guard troops to be sent.