Oregon Governor: 'I'll Say No' if Trump Asks Me to Send National Guard to Border

Gov. Kate Brown, center / Facebook
April 5, 2018

Oregon's Democratic governor said Wednesday that she will refuse any request by President Donald Trump to deploy National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Gov. Kate Brown announced her intention on Twitter, saying she is "deeply troubled" by the Trump administration's plan to "militarize" the country's southern border with Mexico. Her tweet came after Trump signed a presidential memorandum seeking to address a surge of "illegal activity" on America's southern border by deploying the military.

The governor clarified in a subsequent tweet that the federal government had not made any requests for National Guard deployment, writing that her announcement was meant to serve as a preemptive declaration of resistance. Brown also took a shot at the president, saying she had no "intention of allowing" the Oregon National Guard to be used as a distraction from the commander in chief's "troubles" in Washington, D.C.

Trump's proclamation comes as U.S. Customs and Border Protection has reported a surge in the apprehension of illegal immigrants attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border. In February 2018, the agency reported apprehending 36,695 individuals attempting to make an illegal border crossing, up from 23,555 in the same month of the previous year.

The president's actions mimic those taken by his predecessors. In 2006, President George W. Bush sent 6,000 National Guard troops to serve in a support capacity, helping with fence installation and training new border agents. In 2010, President Barack Obama dispatched 1,200 members of the National Guard to enforce border security after a string of violent incidents.

Brown's response differs from that of Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R.), who embraced Trump's move, saying Congress had ignored the issue of border security for too long. Arizona, which unlike Oregon shares a border with Mexico, has long sought to address the adverse effects of illegal immigration.

It is unclear how Trump will respond to Brown's announcement. As governor, Brown serves as commander in chief of the state's military forces, a role that gives her sole responsibility for mobilizing and deploying the state's National Guard. The president, however, does reserve the right to federalize Oregon's National Guard, an action that would prevent Brown from overriding his orders.