Gov. Pete Wilson announced Friday that he will more than triple the number of California National Guard troops deployed at the California-Mexico border to help the Border Patrol fight illegal immigration.
Wilson, in San Diego to sue the federal government for the cost of jailing illegal immigrant felons in California, said he will increase from 49 to 176 the number of Guard troops assigned to repair roads and staff observation posts to free Border Patrol agents to patrol the international boundary.
Wilson said two-thirds of those troops will be financed by federal funds for fighting drug smuggling. The remainder will be paid for with state funds.
“We’re doing what we can at the state level,” Wilson said in a statement released by his office. “The federal government must make a commitment to do whatever it takes, even if that means doubling or tripling the Border Patrol, to secure our nation’s border.”
Wilson’s lawsuit is seeking $377 million for the cost of imprisoning nearly 17,000 illegal immigrants who he says have been convicted of felonies in California.
Wilson said the prison cost lawsuit is the first of three he intends to file against the federal government. The other two will focus on emergency health services and public education.
Several legal experts interviewed by The Times have said the lawsuit is on shaky ground because of the extraordinary constitutional protection the federal government has against such suits.