Calif. gov. to pull troops from bor­der

Guard to fo­cus on wild­fire pre­ven­tion

Albuquerque Journal - - NATION - LOS AN­GE­LES TIMES

SACRA­MENTO, Calif. — As a sec­ond par­tial gov­ern­ment shut­down looms in Wash­ing­ton over bor­der dis­cus­sions, Gov. Gavin New­som on Mon­day or­dered the re­moval of roughly 360 Na­tional Guard mem­bers from Cal­i­for­nia’s south­ern bound­ary with Mex­ico, re­pu­di­at­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of a re­cent in­flux of Cen­tral Amer­i­can refugees and mi­grants as a na­tional se­cu­rity cri­sis.

The an­nounce­ment comes just a day be­fore the gov­er­nor de­liv­ers his first State of the State ad­dress to­day, set­ting the stage for New­som to counter Trump’s State of the Union ad­dress last week.

In re­leased ex­cerpts of his speech, New­som says he is giv­ing the Na­tional Guard a new mis­sion so that troops would not take part in the White House’s “po­lit­i­cal the­ater” and in­stead “re­fo­cus on the real threats fac­ing our state.” The gov­er­nor said he would re­de­ploy the troops to sup­port wild­fire pre­ven­tion ef­forts, and ex­pand op­er­a­tions to counter drugs and car­tels across Cal­i­for­nia, with a group of forces trained in spot­ting nar­cotics to be sta­tioned at the state’s in­ter­na­tional points of en­try.

“The Bor­der ‘emer­gency’ is a man­u­fac­tured cri­sis,” New­som is ex­pected to say to­day. “This is our an­swer to the White House: No more divi­sion, xeno­pho­bia or na­tivism.”

New­som’s move is an es­ca­la­tion of a long-run­ning bat­tle over im­mi­gra­tion be­tween Cal­i­for­nia and the fed­eral gov­ern­ment.

The pres­i­dent has threat­ened to in­voke emer­gency pow­ers to fund con­struc­tion of a wall at the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der. A bud­get stand­off be­tween Trump and con­gres­sional Democrats over the pro­posal led to a 35-day gov­ern­ment shut­down, the long­est in U.S. his­tory. Parts of the gov­ern­ment could close again if Con­gress and the White House do not reach a spend­ing deal by Fri­day.

New­som is the sec­ond gov­er­nor this month to pull Na­tional Guard troops as­signed to the south­ern bor­der.

Last week, New Mex­ico Gov. Michelle Lu­jan Gr­isham, also a Demo­crat, or­dered the re­moval of most her state’s troops just hours be­fore the pres­i­dent’s ad­dress.

RICH PEDRONCELLIE/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Cal­i­for­nia Gov. Gavin New­som dis­cusses his de­ci­sion to with­draw sev­eral hun­dred Na­tional Guard troops from the na­tion’s south­ern bor­der in Sacra­mento on Mon­day.

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