With millions of people living in California without lawful documentation, Gov. Jerry Brown said the state's economy is dependent on comprehensive immigration reform.
"It’s time to just chill, recognize the fact that they’re here," Brown said when he faced members of the media Tuesday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Brown said 10 to 11 million undocumented immigrants are currently living in the United States.
"They are human beings. They have families," the governor said, adding that they do important jobs that are integrated into the state's economy.
"To scare the hell out of them, put them on the run, as it were, is very disruptive to the economy," he said.
President Donald Trump criticized the governor via Twitter Tuesday concerning the ongoing discussion over how the California National Guard will be deployed at the border. Gov. Jerry Brown's press office responded with the eyeroll emoji.
Trump wants guardsmen to help with immigration enforcement but Brown has rejected duties that aren't directly tied to drug or gun enforcement.
Brown said Tuesday that he has sent a letter outlining his objectives and that he believes all sides are close to an agreement.
There could be 200 or 400 troops moved to the U.S. border in response to the request from the president.
“We have plenty to do with respect to our borders,” the governor said. “The Guard is chomping at the bit and ready to go.”
When asked about the state's sanctuary law that took effect in 2018, Brown denied it favors the rights of undocumented people over the safety of communities.
"There's nothing that stops any local official from notifying ICE that people are going to be released," he said.