U.S. say Cal­i­for­nia re­fus­ing bor­der duty

The Reporter (Lansdale, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By El­liot Spagat and Luis Alonso Lugo

SAN DIEGO » The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion said Mon­day that Cal­i­for­nia Gov. Jerry Brown re­jected terms of the Na­tional Guard’s ini­tial de­ploy­ment to the Mex­i­can bor­der, but a state of­fi­cial said noth­ing was de­cided.

“The gover­nor de­ter­mined that what we asked for is un­sup­port­able, but we will have other it­er­a­tions,” Ron­ald Vi­tiello, U.S. Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion’s act­ing deputy com­mis­sioner, told re­porters in Wash­ing­ton.

Brown elicited rare and ef­fu­sive praise from Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump last week for pledg­ing 400 troops to the Guard’s third large-scale bor­der mis­sion since 2006.

But the Demo­cratic gover­nor con­di­tioned his com­mit­ment on troops hav­ing noth­ing to do with im­mi­gra­tion en­force­ment, even in a sup­port­ing role.

Brown’s an­nounce­ment last week did not ad­dress what spe­cific jobs the Cal­i­for­nia Guard would and would not do and how state of­fi­cials would dis­tin­guish work re­lated to im­mi­gra­tion from other as­pects of bor­der en­force­ment, such as fight­ing crim­i­nal gangs and drug and gun smug­gling.

Vi­tiello said the gover­nor de­cided Cal­i­for­nia will not ac­cept terms of an ini­tial troop roll­out for the state that was sim­i­lar to plans for the other three bor­der states, Ari­zona, New Mex­ico and Texas. He said Cal­i­for­nia may par­tic­i­pate in other ways that must still be worked out.

Ac­cord­ing to two U.S. of­fi­cials, the ini­tial jobs for troops in­clude fix­ing and main­tain­ing ve­hi­cles, us­ing re­mote-con­trol sur­veil­lance cam­eras to re­port sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity to U.S. Bor­der Pa­trol agents, op­er­at­ing ra­dios and pro­vid­ing “mis­sion sup­port,” which can in­clude cler­i­cal work, buy­ing gas and han­dling pay­rolls. The of­fi­cials spoke to The As­so­ci­ated Press on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause they were not au­tho­rized to dis­cuss the mat­ter.

Cal­i­for­nia Na­tional Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Thomas Kee­gan said “state of­fi­cials have not re­jected any­thing” since Brown pro­posed a for­mal agree­ment Wed­nes­day with the Home­land Se­cu­rity and De­fense Depart­ments that pro­hibits any in­volve­ment in im­mi­gra­tion.

GRE­GORY BULL — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE

Bor­der Pa­trol agent Ed­uardo Ol­mos walks near the sec­ondary fence sep­a­rat­ing Ti­juana, Mex­ico, back­ground, and San Diego in San Diego.

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