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California to join Guard border mission, but with conditions

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California Gov. Jerry Brown has agreed to send National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border at President Donald Trump's request but says they'll focus on combating drug crime not immigration.
    
Brown has promised 400 troops but says they could be stationed at the border, along the coast or elsewhere statewide.
    
Immigration advocacy groups were critical, saying Brown's support was a boost for Trump's agenda.
    
The White House is praising Brown's move but avoiding comment on his strident rebuke of Trump's portrayal of a border crisis. Federal law sharply limits military involvement in civilian law enforcement. Brown's proposal explicitly bans using California troops for federal immigration enforcement.
    
He says they would instead focus on fighting drug and gun smuggling and human trafficking.

Previously Reported: 

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is postponing her trip to the U.S.-Mexico border.
    
She had planned to get a firsthand look Thursday at the work being done to replace existing vehicle barriers with what is being billed as part of President Donald Trump's border wall.
    
Nielsen was scheduled to get a briefing on construction near the Santa Teresa border crossing but her office said in a statement that the trip has been postponed.
    
Instead, she's expected to remain in Washington, D.C., for meetings.
    
It was not immediately clear when her trip would be rescheduled.
    
The $73 million project in southern New Mexico involves replacing vehicle barriers along a 20-mile stretch with taller, more robust fencing. Authorities have said the new barrier would help curb illegal crossings and drug trafficking in one of the busiest sectors along the border.
    
    
The adjutant general of the Arizona National Guard says 60 troops will be sent on Friday to the border town of Nogales to take part in President Donald Trump's military deployment plan to fight illegal immigration and drug trafficking.
    
Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire said Wednesday that that they will perform ground-based missions but did not provide more details.
    
He says another 112 of the 338 troops that Arizona has committed to Trump's operation will provide border air support, such as flying helicopters, from a base in the town of Marana near Tucson.
    
McGuire says other troops who are deployed will have tasks in engineering, transportation, surveillance and communications.
    
He says none of the troops who are being deployed are required to carry guns but that they can do so if they feel the need to protect themselves.
    
    
The spokeswoman for President Donald Trump has welcomed the decision by California's Democrat governor to deploy 400 National Guard troops for a presidential request aimed at fighting illegal immigration and drug trafficking along the U.S.-Mexico border.
    
Sarah Huckabee Sanders says the Trump administration is "glad to see California Gov. Jerry Brown work with the administration and send members of the national guard to help secure the southern border."
    
Brown did not say how many of the California troops might actually head to the border.
    
He says they will not "round up women and children or detain people escaping violence and seeking a better life."
    
Trump wants up to 4,000 troops sent to the border.
    
He has already won commitments for about 1,600 from the Republican governors of the other states that border Mexico- Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
    
    
California Gov. Jerry Brown has agreed to deploy 400 National Guard troops at President Donald Trump's request, but not all will head to the U.S.-Mexico border as Trump wants and none will enforce federal immigration enforcement.
    
Instead, the Democrat Brown said Wednesday the troops would join an existing program to combat transnational drug crime, firearms smuggling and human trafficking. They would join 250 existing California National Guard troops, including 55 who are at the border.
    
Trump wants up to 4,000 troops sent to the border to combat illegal immigration and drug trafficking and has already won commitments for about 1,600 from the Republican governors of the other states that border Mexico - Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
    
The California Guard members may be deployed at the border, the coast and elsewhere statewide, Brown said.
    
The federal government must agree to the terms before the troops would be deployed.
    
California deployed troops to the border under former Presidents George W. Bush in 2006 and Barack Obama in 2010.
 

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
 

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