Amid an intense debate over immigration and President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall, California Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to pull more than 300 National Guard troops Monday from the state’s border with Mexico.
Newson, a Democrat, will explain his reasoning Tuesday during his State of the State address, according to the Los Angeles Times and The Associated Press, which obtained excerpts of his speech. The governor plans to reassign the soldiers to help with wildfire prevention and combat drug smuggling across the state, according to local reports.
“The border ‘emergency’ is a manufactured crisis, and California will not be part of this political theater,” he intends to say in his address, according to an except given to the Associated Press.
The news comes after New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D, made a similar decision, ordering the reassignment of troops along New Mexico’s southwestern boundary on the same night that Trump spoke about “our very dangerous southern border.” During his State of the Union address, Trump called it a “moral issue.”
“The lawless state of our southern border is a threat to the safety, security, and financial well-being of all Americans,” he said Tuesday night. “We have a moral duty to create an immigration system that protects the lives and jobs of our citizens. This includes our obligation to the millions of immigrants living here today, who followed the rules and respected our laws. Legal immigrants enrich our Nation and strengthen our society in countless ways. I want people to come into our country, but they have to come in legally.
“Tonight, I am asking you to defend our very dangerous southern border out of love and devotion to our fellow citizens and to our country.”
As The Washington Post previously reported, the New Mexico governor said that she rejected “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.”
“New Mexico will not take part in the president’s charade of border fearmongering by misusing our diligent National Guard troops,” Grisham added.
In California, the governor plans to withdraw 360 or so National Guard troops by March 31 – 110 troops will be assigned to bolster the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, 100 will be sent to thwart drug cartels and another 150 will join the California National Guard’s Counterdrug Task Force, Nathan Click, a spokesman for the governor, told the Los Angeles Times.
The governor’s office could not immediately be reached for comment Monday morning by The Washington Post.