California Pulls Hundreds of National Guard Troops From Southern Border

By Shani Saxon Feb 11, 2019

California Governor Gavin Newsom is sending a clear response to the Trump admistration's request for support from border states. Today (February 11), he plans to withdraw hundreds of National Guard troops from the Mexico border, Time reports.  

Newsom's office released excerpts from his upcoming Tuesday (February 12) State of the State address, where he explains his rationale. "The border 'emergency' is a manufactured crisis, and California will not be part of this political theater," the governor plans to say. Instead, as Time reports, Newsome will "reassign roughly 110 troops to beef up California's fire preparation efforts ahead of the next wildfire season and expand the guard’s counterdrug task force program." Roughly 100 of the 360 troops will "remain deployed under California’s agreement with the federal government to focus specifically on combating transnational crime such as drug and gun smuggling," according to Nathan Click, a spokesperson for the governor. 

Newsom's argument is that Central American migrants are coming to the United States to escape violence—violence that reportedly exists largely because of transnational crime organizations, which is why the troops are better positioned to address those activities. His decision comes just one week after New Mexico Governor Michelle Grisham ordered most of her state's National Guard troops away from the border, NBC News reports. She came to her decision because of what she referred to as the Trump administration's “border fear-mongering."

As NBC reports, "In April 2018, Trump authorized up to 4,000 National Guard troops to be deployed in the four border states of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California. After California removes the 360 troops, 1,145 will remain in Texas and 580 in Arizona."

Under California's new plan, the National Guard has until the end of March to complete the withdrawal process.