California to pull National Guard troops from Mexican border

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Monday that he is ready to withdraw hundreds of the state's National Guard troops from the U.S.-Mexico border, a rebuke of President Donald Trump's stance that a national security crisis is unfolding there.

Gov. Gavin Newsom says troops will be redeployed to combat fires, drug smuggling

Gavin Newsom talks with President Donald Trump during a visit to a neighbourhood destroyed by wildfires in Paradise, Calif., on Nov. 17. Newsom's now-predecessor Jerry Brown talks behind them. (Paul Kitagaki Jr./The Sacramento Bee via AP)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Monday that he is ready to withdraw hundreds of the state's National Guard troops from the U.S.-Mexico border, a rebuke to President Donald Trump's stance that a national security crisis is unfolding there.

In his State of the State address on Tuesday, the newly elected Democratic governor will say that border crossings had fallen to their lowest since 1971 and California's undocumented population had dropped to a more than 10-year low, spokesperson Brian Ferguson said.

"The border 'emergency' is nothing more than a manufactured crisis — and [California's] National Guard will not be part of this political theater," Newsom said on Twitter.

As a result, the governor would reassign about 360 California National Guard troops at the border to address the "real threats" faced by the state, including drug trafficking and wildfires, the spokesperson said in an email.

Newsom's office did not provide a timeline for the redeployments.

Follows similar move in New Mexico

Newsom's predecessor as governor, Jerry Brown, agreed to send the troops to the border last April after reaching agreement with the Trump administration that they would focus on fighting criminal gangs and smugglers, but not enforcing immigration laws.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham last week ordered most National Guard troops deployed at the state's border with Mexico to withdraw, also rejecting the Republican president's contention of a crisis.

Grisham, a Democrat, called Trump's frequent declarations of an immigration crisis at the border a "charade." The troops were deployed by her Republican predecessor, Susana Martinez, last year at Trump's request.

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

U.S. Military troops return from a test deployment with U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents after conducting an exercise at the San Ysidro port of entry with Mexico in San Diego on Jan. 10. The Pentagon has sent thousands of troops to points along the southern border. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

Constantly pointing to threats from illegal immigrants, Trump has made building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border a priority of his presidency. But Democrats are seeking to thwart that, saying it is unnecessary and a waste of money.

Trump's demand for $5.7 billion US to help build a wall led to a 35-day partial U.S. government shutdown that ended last month without the president getting wall funding. He agreed to reopen the government for three weeks to allow lawmakers time to find a compromise and avert another shutdown on Feb. 15, this Friday

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