After New Mexico's governor announced she will withdraw National Guard troops from the border, California's governor follows suit.
California’s progressive Governor Gavin Newsom is gearing up to remove the 360 National Guard members currently stationed atthe border with Mexico since last April saying in a Monday statement that he will no longer go along with President Donald Trump’s “political theater” trying to convince the U.S. public that his and other southwest states next to Mexico are in the middle of a ‘national security crisis’.
The decision follows New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s bold move last week to withdraw nearly all of her state guard from the border. On Feb. 6, Lujan Grisham told the press “New Mexico will not take part in the president’s charade of border fear-mongering by misusing our diligent National Guard troops.”
The California leader released a statement early Monday morning obtained by the L.A. Times containing parts of his first State of the State address he’s set to give Tuesday night. In Newsom’s communique the Democratic governor says Trump’s “Border ‘emergency’ is a manufactured crisis.” The governor’s administration, in office for just a few weeks, said the removal of troops is “our answer to the White House: No more division, xenophobia or nativism.”
Newsom is expected to formally announce during his first state address that he will “refocus (the troops) on the real threats facing our state,” such as wildfire prevention and drug trafficking. The previous Democratic Governor Jerry Brown gave the go-ahead to deploy some 400 National Guard members at the California border last April as thousands of Central American migrants and asylum seekers were trying to gain entry into the U.S. in order to escape prolonged poverty rates of 70 percent and annual homicide rates between 27 and 56 percent.
These announcements by border state leaders comes as Trump is sending in around 3,700 active duty troops to the border to support Border Patrol agents.
The president will hold a Monday night rally in El Paso, Texas to promote his 3,100km border wall proposal he has been touting —paid for either by Mexico or U.S. citizens — since his campaign. The likely 2020 presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke is planning his own counter protest with local leaders against Trump and the fortified wall also in El Paso, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Around 2,400 Central Americans in the latest ‘migrant caravan’ wave left Mexico City in late January and an estimated 1,800 of them arrived recently at the border with Texas. State leaders there have order the deployment of another 250 National Guard troops to Eagle Pass to cut off the asylum seekers.
Patricia Gandara, co-director of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA, agreed with Newsom’s decision. “I think we grew up and we realized that immigrants were not a threat,” Gandara told the L.A. Times. “We’re the fifth-largest economy in the world. And we have the largest percentage of immigrants in our state. How do you reconcile that if you think immigrants are taking our jobs and bringing down the economy?” she asked.