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Officials: California 'not participating' yet in Trump's border protection push

Officials: California 'not participating' yet in Trump's border protection push
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Department of Defense (DOD) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officials confirmed Monday that California will not take part in President TrumpDonald John TrumpKey takeaways from the Arizona Senate debate Major Hollywood talent firm considering rejecting Saudi investment money: report Mattis says he thought 'nothing at all' about Trump saying he may leave administration MORE’s move to send up to 4,000 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, as the requirements are now written.

Acting CBP Deputy Commissioner Ronald Vitiello told reporters that California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has determined the tasks the federal officials have asked the state's National Guard to perform at the southern border are "unsupportable."

"We’ve got a signal from the governor that he’s not participating,” Vitiello told reporters at a media briefing, but added that "there will be other missions that we’re planning for the future state of this operation and so we’ll continue to see if those fit better."

DHS press secretary Tyler Houlton wrote on Twitter after the briefing that Brown "has stated publicly that he shares our interest in securing our southern border. 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"

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Robert Salesses, the DOD deputy assistant secretary for homeland defense integration, said California declined a specific request to commit 237 guardsmen to two sectors near the Mexican border, San Diego and El Centro.

"There’s a set of initial responsibilities there. The California National Guard has indicated that they will not perform those missions as we know them to be right now," Salesses said.

The tasks were operational support responsibilities, including motor transport, maintenance, radio communication, heavy equipment operations, some planning and administrative tasks, and surveillance camera operations.

Salesses added that “we are in a continuing dialogue, discussion” with the state.

The Associated Press reported earlier that California had rejected the federal government's initial plans for sending guardsmen to the border, as the work was thought to be too closely tied to immigration enforcement.

Brown, last week, wrote in a letter to Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisMattis says he thought 'nothing at all' about Trump saying he may leave administration Overnight Defense: Trump says 'rogue killers' could be behind missing journalist | Sends Pompeo to meet Saudi king | Saudis may claim Khashoggi killed by accident | Ex-VA chief talks White House 'chaos' | Most F-35s cleared for flight Americans are safer from terrorism, but new threats are arising MORE and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenTop Judiciary Dems call for unredacted 'zero tolerance' memo The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Dem path to a Senate majority narrows Hillicon Valley: Officials warn of Chinese influence efforts | Dow drops over 800 points | Tech stocks hit hard | Google appeals B EU fine | James Murdoch may be heading for Tesla | Most Americans worried about election security MORE that his state’s Guard would accept federal funding to add about 400 guardsmen. But he specified that the extra troops “will not be enforcing federal immigration laws."

There are now 900 National Guard troops deployed in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona as part of Trump’s plan for the military to shore up the southern border until his administration builds a border wall.

The Pentagon earlier this month authorized up to 4,000 National Guard troops to be sent to the border as part of the plan.

Vitiello also said that the CBP and the Pentagon are looking for additional tasks, possibly meant for the next phase of the Guard’s role at the border, “to see if a state like California, that doesn’t want to participate in this level one, that maybe they’ll be in the subsequent one.

And a DHS official told The Hill that in the coming days, the department plans to submit another set of requirements. 

Officials have stressed that border security will remain a civilian law enforcement responsibility and that the National Guard will serve in support capacity, not directly involved in an enforcement role.

- This story was updated at 7:07 p.m.