It’s a serious mistake to feed the delusions of President Trump and his supporters.

But that’s exactly what Gov. Jerry Brown did in agreeing to dispatch California National Guard units to border duty.

Yes, Brown issued a letter in which he tried to rationalize the move, saying that the Guard personnel were going there to fight transnational crime, and not help build a pointless wall or terrorize immigrants. But the letter itself demonstrates the folly of the governor’s decision. It reads as if Brown is trying to convince himself of his own actions. I wonder if he really succeeded.

Because he must know that any real collaboration with President Trump, especially when it comes to immigration, is bad for California and Californians.

California has righteously tried to send the message that it protects immigrants and the U.S. citizens in their families against Trump. This decision muddies those waters, and is likely to spread real fear.

Worse Brown is feeding the Trumpian narrative that there are hordes of dangerous undocumented immigrants crossing the border. Border traffic is at historic low—most undocumented immigrants arrive via airports and legally, then overstay visas. Immigration itself is low. And the people crossing at the border are desperate, not dangerous.

To the contrary, this country needs more immigrants right now – it has shortages of workers and skilled workers in a super-tight labor market. And we also have a sagging birth rate that should be supplemented with immigrants so we can afford to pay for the retirement of our older generations.

But Brown, by sending the National Guard, concedes that there is some sort of problem around the border and immigration.

The only problem, of course, is that we don’t have enough immigrants.

Brown now ends up collaborating with a lawless, threatening federal immigration regime that has gone so far as to suggest it will lock up California elected officials for protecting immigrants from the feds.

One argument for sending the Guard out to the border is it was done under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. But when you go back and look at those deployments, you see that they were failures. First, they were costly and didn’t produce anything of value at the border. Second, the deployments were attempts to play to the same anti-immigrant mania that Trump has – to show toughness at the border in the service of advancing legislation for immigration reform.

Those reform proposals failed. Because appeasing the anti-immigrant haters never works.

And as a matter of strategy, Brown gets it wrong too. He’s clearly trying to avoid escalation with Trump if he has to. But with Trump, escalation is inevitable, and is beyond California’s control – since he slanders our state without consequence. Brown has given Trump a couple inches here. What happens next time when he asks for a mile?

Call off the Guard, Governor, as soon as you can.