California to Pull Troops from US-Mexico Border in Rebuke to Trump

Daily News Article   —   Posted on February 14, 2019

(Compiled from Reuters, US News and Press TV) — SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday signed an order withdrawing more than two-thirds of the state’s National Guard troops from the U.S.-Mexico border, calling President Trump’s declarations that there is a crisis on the border nothing but “political theater.”

Newsom said most of the roughly 360 National Guard members deployed to the border would be reassigned to other duties in the state, with about 100 remaining behind as part of a task force targeting drug trafficking and cartels.

“This whole border issue is a manufactured crisis. We are not interested in participating in this political theater,” Newsom said at an afternoon news conference in Sacramento.

The governor, a Democrat who took office in January, said border crossings were at their lowest level since 1971 and that the state’s undocumented population had dropped to a more than 10-year low.

“This is pure politics, period full stop,” he said.

Newsom’s predecessor, Governor Jerry Brown, agreed to send National Guard troops to the border last April after reaching agreement with the Trump administration that they would focus on fighting criminal gangs and smugglers and not enforce immigration laws.

California’s original order to send troops to the border, signed by Gov. Brown, a Democrat who sought out areas to cooperate with the federal government, set a deadline of March 31 for the deployment to end. Newsom’s plan will reportedly call on troops to be removed immediately, though it will allow the withdrawal to proceed until March 31.

Newsom said some of the National Guard troops would be re-deployed to help fight what he said were mushrooming illegal marijuana farms following approval of a 2016 ballot measure to legalize recreational cannabis – legislation the governor helped pass.

“We have to hold accountable those who are not participating in the legal cannabis market,” he said. “These illegal grows are manifesting, getting bigger.”  [They also avoid paying the millions in tax dollars the state is collecting from legal pot growers.]

Gov. Newsom’s announcement comes on the heels of a similar move last week by New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat who ordered the withdrawal of most National Guard troops deployed at the border by her Republican predecessor at Trump’s request last year. Grisham denied Trump’s contention that there is a crisis at the border, calling it a “charade.”

The two states’ previous governors had agreed last year to a Trump administration request to send troops to the border; the decision to withdraw the service members effectively bucks the president’s request for support, signaling perhaps a new tone from the two Democratic governors, who were each newly elected to their offices in November.

Trump has made building a wall on the US-Mexico border a priority of his presidency, constantly pointing to threats from illegal immigrants.

However, Democrats have sought to thwart that, saying it is unnecessary and a waste of money.

The president has deployed an extra 3,750 U.S. troops on the border this month.

Compiled from Reuters, US News and Press TV. Reprinted here for educational purposes only.