The California governor has decided to yank hundreds of National Guard troops from the U.S.-Mexico border and redirect them toward anti-drug and wildfire initiatives. Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he’ll sign an executive order Monday that would end the deployment of 360 National Guard troops, according to prepared remarks obtained by several media outlets. Those troops represent the majority of the guardsmen stationed at the border in California but just a slice of the 4,000 National Guard troops that President Donald Trump demanded across the border states of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California in April to address what he called a “drastic surge of illegal activity on the southern border.” “The border ‘emergency’ is a manufactured crisis,” Newsom wrote in the prepared remarks for his State of the State address Tuesday night. “California will not be part of this political theater.” With his executive order, Newsom becomes the second governor of a border state to decrease National Guard presence at the border and rebuke Trump as he continues to pressure Democrats into funding a border wall. Just a few hours before the president’s second State of the Union address last Tuesday, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham called back the majority of her state’s National Guard troops from the border and urged other governors to do the same. “New Mexico will not take part in the president’s charade of border fear mongering by misusing our diligent National Guard troops,” Grisham said. In addition to the 5,500 active duty troops stationed at the border, the National Guard currently has troops from Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Wisconsin to the border. But they cannot arrest immigrants. Rather, they’re supposed to provide tactical and indirect support to Customs and Border Protections agents.
Trump will host his first rally on Monday since November’s midterm elections in the border town of El Paso, Texas, where he’s expected to push for the $5.7 billion in border wall funding that led to a massive budget impasse and resulting month-long government shutdown. Ahead of that rally, El Paso’s Republican mayor, Dee Margo, and other city officials have rebuked Trump’s portrayal of area in his State of the Union as rife with crime before it installed a border wall.
Margo even praised the city’s relationship with Mexico in a USA Today op-ed. “Contrary to what you might hear or perceive, our city's relationship with Mexico has ushered in an era of economic growth and regional participation,” the mayor wrote.
Cover image: This Oct. 16, 2017, photo shows the California National Guard deployed near Santa Rosa, California. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP)