President Donald Trump slammed California Governor Jerry Brown on Tuesday, expressing his frustration at the governor’s refusal to cooperate with the president’s orders to have National Guard troops enforce federal immigration laws at the southern border.
Earlier this month, Arizona, Texas and New Mexico announced they would send National Guard troops to the border following the president’s call for 2,000 to 4,000 Guard members to fight drug trafficking and illegal immigration.
Under the president’s proclamation, the National Guards are still under the command and control of their state’s governor.
Brown agreed on April 11 to send 400 Guard troops to the border in exchange for federal funding, but made clear that there would be strict boundaries for what the troops would be doing.
“Your funding for new staffing will allow the Guard to do what it does best: support operations targeting transnational criminal gangs, human traffickers and illegal firearm and drug smugglers along the border, the coast and throughout the state,” Brown wrote in a letter to Defense Secretary James N. Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
“This will not be a mission to build a new wall,” Brown continued. “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.”
Trump attacked the governor on Twitter for his refusal to enforce the law.
“Looks like Jerry Brown and California are not looking for safety and security along their very porous Border. He cannot come to terms for the National Guard to patrol and protect the Border,” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. “The high crime rate will only get higher. Much wanted Wall in San Diego already started!”
Looks like Jerry Brown and California are not looking for safety and security along their very porous Border. He cannot come to terms for the National Guard to patrol and protect the Border. The high crime rate will only get higher. Much wanted Wall in San Diego already started!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 17, 2018
Brown pushed back against the tweet Tuesday during remarks at the National Press Club, seeming to imply that a compromise was possible.
“Well, wait a minute,” Brown said in regard to Trump’s tweet. “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.”
“We want to be cooperative,” the governor added. “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.”
California’s sanctuary state laws have received significant backlash in recent months, with one city voting to exempt itself from the state’s law this month, and several other cities joining the fight.
Brown claimed the issue is being exploited by Republicans for political reasons.
“The Republican Party has this little, narrow group of…people that think that somehow they’re going to get elected” on the issue, Brown said. “It’s an inflammatory football that very low-life politicians are trying to exploit.”
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