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  • New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham

    New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham | Photo: Twitter / @GovMLG

Published 6 February 2019

New Mexico's governor is withdrawing most of the state's National Guard from the border, rejecting Trump's 'fear-mongering' that there is 'security crisis' at the border with Mexico.

New Mexico’s governor has ordered most of the state’s National Guard troops to withdraw from its southern border with Mexico on Tuesday evening, just prior to United States President Donald Trump’s second state of the union address.

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“New Mexico will not take part in the president’s charade of border fear-mongering by misusing our diligent National Guard troops,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a statement.

The Democratic governor’s Republican predecessor gave the go-ahead to send in some 118 National Guard members to the New Mexico border in April 2018 at Trump’s urging just as a wave of Central American refugee seekers approached the southern state from Mexico.

“I reject the federal contention that there exists an overwhelming national security crisis at the southern border, along which are some of the safest communities in the country,” Lujan Grisham said in her Tuesday statement.

The state leader did say, however, that she will keep a small number, about a dozen, of guard members in the state’s southwest Hidalgo County.

“I recognize and appreciate the legitimate concerns of residents and officials in southwestern New Mexico, particularly Hidalgo County, who have asked for our assistance, as migrants and asylum-seekers continue to appear at their doorstep.” The National Guard in this region will continue “to assist with the ongoing humanitarian needs of communities there,” stated the governor.

At the request of the county chairperson, Anthony Mora, the governor directed the New Mexico Department of Public Safety to deploy “an initial group” of six state police officers to Hidalgo County to help with day-to-day operations and said this arrangement would be assessed as time goes by.

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The harsh desert New Mexico border with Mexico has become one of the only ways that immigrants and asylum seekers can enter the United States since former President Bill Clinton adopted the “Prevention Through Deterrence” that increased deportations in urban sectors.

The Pentagon sent around 5,200 active troops and other National Guard to the border last October as the Central American Exodus of around 7-10,000 asylum seekers tried to enter or request refugee status in the U.S. While some of the troops had been removed since then, on Sunday the White House announced it will be sending in an additional 3,750 troops along the entire 3,145 km U.S.-Mexico border and to put up more barbed wire.

In recent months at least two youths, Felipe Gomez Alonzo and Jakelin Caal both from Guatemala died in U.S. ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) custody in New Mexico after they and their guardians were picked up by Border Patrol agents.

Gov. Lujan Grisham asked the leaders from other states—Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Wisconsin—to withdraw their combined 25 National Guards members from New Mexico.

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