Without Trump administration sign-off, Gov. Brown orders California National Guard mobilization

File: California Gov. Jerry Brown at the State Capitol in Sacramento, California on Oct. 27, 2011.
File: California Gov. Jerry Brown at the State Capitol in Sacramento, California on Oct. 27, 2011.
Max Whittaker/Getty Images

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In response to a call from President Donald Trump to use the nation's military to secure the U.S.-Mexico border, Gov. Jerry Brown is ordering the mobilization of 400 members of the California National Guard to fight drug trafficking, gangs and other crime.

The scope of the mission is strictly limited, however. Troops "will not enforce immigration laws or participate in the construction of any new border barrier," according to a statement released Wednesday afternoon along with the governor's official mobilization order.

The order is consistent with a letter and Memorandum of Agreement Brown sent to the secretaries of Homeland Security and Defense last week. The governor's office initially said the memorandum needed sign-off from DHS and DoD, and a spokesperson for the Cal Guard said Tuesday they were "standing by" for the green light from secretaries Kirstjen Nielsen and Jim Mattis.

Meanwhile, the strict limitations of the proposed deployment irked President Trump, who sent multiple tweets criticizing Brown, the final border governor to comply with his request for National Guard support for U.S. Border Patrol agents.

The latest came Wednesday morning:

Trump's tweet

Questions about whether the Trump administration would reject Brown's restricted deployment hung in the air for several days, punctuated by conflicting statements from DHS and state officials. But a Wednesday afternoon email from the governor's office said the federal government had committed to funding the mission, so a signature from DHS and DoD was "no longer necessary."

"Today’s announcement reflects two weeks of productive discussions between the Brown administration – including the California National Guard and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services – and its federal counterparts," the statement from Brown's office said. "[It] follows similar targeted Guard assistance provided by the state in 2006 under President Bush and in 2010 under President Obama."

This latest wave of Cal Guard members will be added to about 250 troops already fighting weapons trafficking, drug smuggling, gang activity and other crime statewide. And the extra personnel will not all be positioned at the border—Brown's office said the location of the 400 additional Guard members will be dictated by operational needs on the ground, and some will deploy before the end of the month. 

Read Gov. Brown's National Guard mobilization order:

April 18, 2018


In response to the request from the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security, and consistent with my April 11, 2018 letter to Secretary Nielsen and Secretary Mattis, I issue the following General Order under sections 146 and 365 of the California Military and Veterans Code and in accordance with article V, section 7 of the California Constitution as the Commander-in-Chief of the California National Guard.

You shall call into active service up to 400 service members of the active militia, under section 502(f) of Title 32 of the United States Code, as needed to:

·         Combat the non-linear threat of transnational crime that extends to areas of California beyond the U.S.-Mexico border;

·         Disrupt transnational criminal gangs and human traffickers and illegal firearm and drug smugglers;

·         Interdict illegal firearm and drug shipments crossing both directions of the U.S.-Mexico border and through coastal and offshore routes;

·         Execute counterdrug and counter-narcoterrorism operations crossing both directions of the border and through coastal and offshore routes;

·         Coordinate with federal officials to deploy personnel and equipment where needed to fulfill this mission;

·         Coordinate with The Adjutant General of any other state as needed to fulfill this mission;

·         Arm military personnel with issued military weapons during this mission only when you or your designee determine there is a mission requirement for doing so; and

·         Ensure all California National Guard forces participating in this mission comply with the California National Guard’s Rules for the Use of Force.

California National Guard service members shall not engage in any direct law enforcement role nor enforce immigration laws, arrest people for immigration law violations, guard people taken into custody for alleged immigration violations, or support immigration law enforcement activities. California National Guard service members shall not participate in the construction of any new border barrier.

You shall decline missions that would compromise the state’s ability to respond to state emergencies, missions that would exceed the mission scope and limitations outlined above, or missions that do not meet a valid state and/or national security interest.

This order will remain in effect until September 30, 2018 unless further modified or rescinded in writing by me.

Edmund G. Brown Jr.