SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday he will remove more than 250 U.S. National Guard troops from the U.S.-Mexico border.
According to Newsom’s office, only 100 of the 360 National Guard troops currently deployed at the border will remain there. The other 260 will be reassigned around the state to combat wildfires and drug cartel activity.
Newsom said will formally announce the plan during his State of the State address Tuesday.
“The Border ‘emergency’ is a manufactured crisis. And California will not be part of this political theater. Which is why I have given the National Guard a new mission. They will refocus on the real threats facing our state,” said Governor Newsom. “This is our answer to the White House: No more division, xenophobia or nativism.”
Newsom is the second governor to remove National Guard troops from the border, joining New Mexico Gov. Michelle Grisham, who withdrew that state’s troops last week. Grisham publicly rebuked the Trump administration’s immigration policies when she announced the withdrawal, something Newsom also appears primed to do.
Some local lawmakers quickly backed the plan.
“The only emergency at the border is the one created by the federal government’s refusal to fulfill its responsibility to assist vulnerable families seeking asylum, and California is working with officials and organizations in San Diego to address that situation,” said Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego. “California’s National Guard troops are needed elsewhere in the state, and I stand by Gov. Newsom’s decision to redeploy them from the border to places where they will be of far more value to our residents.”
The state’s Latino Legislative Caucus, chaired by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, also expressed support for the de-escalation plan.
“From the outset, the California Latino Caucus, as a group, has believed this entire `crisis at the border’ to be a cynical, manufactured attempt by the Trump administration to promote fear and drive a divisive wedge between Americans,” Gonzalez said in a statement by the caucus.
President Donald Trump requested the deployment of up to 4,000 National Guard troops last April in California, New Mexico, Texas and Arizona. More than 5,000 U.S. military troops are also stationed at the border across the four states. With California and New Mexico scaling back their National Guard deployments, 1,725 troops will remain across Texas and Arizona, according to NBC News.