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Governors Are Pulling Their Troops From The Border, Saying There Is No “Crisis”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is the second state executive in less than a week to announce a withdrawal of troops.

Last updated on February 11, 2019, at 7:48 p.m. ET

Posted on February 11, 2019, at 4:43 p.m. ET

Texas Military Department via AP

LOS ANGELES — Calling President Trump's claim of an emergency at the US–Mexico border a "manufactured crisis," California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an order Monday withdrawing most of the nearly 400 National Guard troops deployed to the state's southern border.

In excerpts from his State of the State speech, which he plans to deliver Tuesday, Newsom says California will not be part of the Trump administration’s political theater.

"The border 'emergency' is a manufactured crisis," Newsom says, according to an excerpt from the speech obtained by BuzzFeed News. "Which is why I have given the National Guard a new mission. ... They will refocus on the real threats facing our state."

The order Newsom signed will rescind previous authorization for California National Guard personnel, who were to be deployed to the US–Mexico border at the White House's request to aid the federal government.

"How many hundreds of millions of dollars are being wasted for political gain?" Newsom said at a press conference Monday. "This whole thing is the theatre of the absurd and California has had enough and we will not perpetuate it."

Newsom is the second governor in recent days to call for a drawdown. On Tuesday, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham ordered the withdrawal of the majority of National Guard troops deployed at the border. Both governors are Democrats.

Members of the Arizona National Guard.
Caitlin O'hara / AFP / Getty Images

Members of the Arizona National Guard.

“I reject the federal contention that there exists an overwhelming national security crisis at the southern border, along which are some of the safest communities in the country," Lujan Grisham said in a statement. "New Mexico will not take part in the president’s charade of border fear-mongering by misusing our diligent National Guard troops."

The state had previously deployed 118 National Guard troops to the border.

Lujan Grisham's announcement came on the same day as Trump's State of the Union address, during which he announced that another 3,750 troops would be deploying to the southern border in response to caravans of migrants from Central America making their way to the US.

The pushback to the Trump administration's calls for additional troops at the border comes at a time when overall arrests at the border are at historic lows, while the number of families apprehended is at an all-time high.

Gregory Bull / AP

Annual arrests along the nearly 1,900-mile southwest border are far from the peak of more than 1.6 million apprehensions in the year 2000, a figure that has since been in steady decline.

Meanwhile, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of families showing up at the border. In 2018, about one-quarter of the 396,579 people arrested between official border crossings were families, compared to just 3% in 2012.

Of the 360 troops affected by Newsom's order, 100 who are specially trained in counternarcotics search and seizures and transnational criminal organization intelligence will be redeployed to provide assistance at official border crossings and other parts of California, said Nathan Click, a spokesperson for the governor.

The order also calls for 110 National Guard troops to support Cal Fire in fire prevention and suppression and the expansion of California National Guard's statewide Counter Drug Task Force by at least 150 people, pending Department of Defense funding.


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