California governor to draw down guard troops at border
12 February, 2019, 21:35 | Author: Lucille Rivera
Gavin Newsom on Monday will recall hundreds of state National Guard troops from the southern border to protest what he calls "fear mongering" by President Donald Trump.
But the National Guard has been aiding federal efforts along the border by handling duties that otherwise would have had to be performed by US troops and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, including vehicle maintenance, administrative support and operating cameras on the border.
Brown also ordered that the guard members not enforce immigration laws or participate in the building of a border barrier.
The expansion of the counterdrug task force requires approval from the US Department of Defense. The troops have remained at the border for 10 months.
The move comes shortly after New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) ordered her state to withdraw state National Guard troops from the border as well.
Newsom's Monday order said the increase in Central American migrants crossing the border is the result of a desire to escape violence and repression fueled in part by the activities of transnational crime organizations. Excerpts of Newsom's speech have already been released. The White House at the time had requested governors of border states to aid in security efforts by deploying their National Guard troops.
"This is our answer to the White House: No more division, xenophobia or nativism", Newsom plans to say, according to prepared remarks.
At the federal level, the ongoing battle over funding for Trump's proposed border wall could lead to another partial government shutdown. Every president since Ronald Reagan has called on the National Guard for limited, temporary missions along the frontier. As NPR's Greg Myre has reported, the National Guard and other troops at the border are limited to providing surveillance and other support roles.
Grisham, a Democrat, called Trump's frequent declarations of an immigration crisis at the border a "charade".
According to the order, 110 personnel will help CAL Fire prepare for the upcoming fire season through supporting fire prevention and suppression efforts.
The drawdown of California's troops will begin immediately but may not be completed until March 31, when the state's current agreement with the federal government is set to end. Another 100 members will be devoted to intelligence operations against drug cartels, with a small group of those stationed at points of entry. "However, there is a gray area", Baldwin said.
If the Trump administration does not agree to Newsom's new terms "we'll bring the rest back", he said.
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