Newsom pulling Guard troops from border
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National Guard will not be enforcing federal immigration laws.” Newsom’s office, however, said the troops were operating cameras along the border, doing vehicle maintenance and performing other jobs that would normally fall to federal agencies, freeing up resources for U.S. Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
Voice of San Diego, an online news outlet, reported in August that in at least two cases, Border Patrol agents apprehended immigrants crossing into the state illegally after being notified by California National Guard troops.
Newsom’s withdrawal order comes one day before he delivers his first State of the State address at 11 a.m. Tuesday. According to excerpts of the speech released by his office, the governor will say that “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.”
Under the new order Newsom intends to sign, 110 Guard troops now at the border will be redeployed to help the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection with fire prevention efforts, and 100 troops will conduct antidrug trafficking intelligence operations, including screening cargo at points of entry.
Newsom will also request funding from the U.S. Defense Department to expand the state Guard’s antidrug task force by at least 150 members.
“This is our answer to the White House: No more division, xenophobia or nativism,” Newsom plans to say in his State of the State speech.
Trump originally asked California and other border states to send thousands of National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border in April to stop a caravan of migrants that was headed north from Central America. Brown ultimately agreed to deploy 400 troops, though he said it would be only to fight criminal gangs, human trafficking, and firearms and drug smuggling. “This will not be a mission to build a new wall. It will not be a mission to round up women and children or detain people escaping violence and seeking a better life,” Brown said at the time.
As a candidate for governor, Newsom promised to look into pulling back California troops from what called a “stunt on the president’s part.”
There are now more than 2,000 National Guard forces stationed along the border. There are also 2,300 activeduty troops, and Trump said this month that he will send an additional 3,750 troops to help install wire barriers and monitor border crossings.
In his State of the Union address to Congress on Tuesday, Trump warned of a “lawless state” and a “tremendous onslaught” of illegal immigration and other crime along the southern border as he urged lawmakers to support funding for construction of his proposed wall.
Newsom’s decision to withdraw most of California’s Guard troops follows a similar action by the new governor of New Mexico, Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham. Last week, she ordered the withdrawal of most of the state’s nearly 120 National Guard troops assigned to the southern border.
“New Mexico will not take part in the president’s charade of border fearmongering by misusing our diligent National Guard troops,” Lujan Grisham said.
California National Guard troops work at the U.S.-Mexico border fence near the San Ysidro port of entry in San Diego County.
Current Gov. Gavin Newsom (left), President Trump and thenGov. Jerry Brown view fire damage in Butte County last year.