California silent on sending National Guard troops to border

SAN DIEGO – As Texas and Arizona follow President Donald Trump's vision to step up security at the U.S.-Mexico border, California has yet to indicate its plans on mobilizing National Guard troops.

“This is a step up from the militarization, something we just absolutely don’t need,” said Pedros Rios.

Members of the Arizona National Guard listen to instructions on April 9, 2018, at the Papago Park Military Reservation in Phoenix.
Arizona deployed its first 225 National Guard members to the Mexican border on Monday after President Donald Trump ordered thousands of troops to the frontier region to combat drug trafficking and illegal immigration. "The Arizona National Guard will deploy 225 members of the Guard today to support border security measures," the state militia said in a statement. (CAITLIN O'HARA/AFP/Getty Images)

Rios is with the American Friends Service Committee, a group dedicated to fighting for immigrant rights.

He not only called the President’s plan a declaration of war but said it sends the wrong message to the immigrant community.

“It’s just playing politics on the back of people who are searching for a better life and those who live in border communities,” said Rios.

Rios said the added troops are unnecessary and that arrests at the U.S.-Mexico border are at an all-time low.

“This idea that the border is out of control is completely misguided and not based on the facts on the ground,” said Rios.

Joshua Wilson, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, said those facts are wrong.

“I work on the border every single day and we make arrests every single day,” said Wilson, one of the leading voices of the union representing the Border Patrol.

He said between March 2016 and 2017, arrests at the border were up by 200 percent.

“We’re dealing with a Border Patrol that’s 1,800 agents below its congressionally mandated strength,” said Wilson.

From surveillance to administrative roles, Wilson said the added personnel will allow more agents in the field, resulting in a safer border.

“It would be nice to see California help in the effort instead of being an impediment to public safety,” said Wilson.

Arizona’s governor sent 225 troops to the border Monday, with an additional 113 to follow Tuesday.

National Guard troops were also sent to the border to assist by President George W. Bush in 2006 and President Barack Obama in 2010.