From SF Gate: Gov. Gavin Newsom will withdraw most of the California National Guard troops who were deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border last year, saying the state needs them to prepare for wildfires and fight drug trafficking rather than bolster President Trump’s response to a “manufactured” immigration crisis.
Newsom said he will rescind authorization Monday for the deployment of the Guard troops, which Trump requested and then-Gov. Jerry Brown approved in April. Brown extended the deployment in September, and the state’s 360 Guard troops were scheduled to stay on the border through March.
Brown declared last year that “California National Guard will not be enforcing federal immigration laws.” Newsom’s office, however, said the troops were operating cameras along the border, doing vehicle maintenance and performing other jobs that would normally fall to federal agencies, freeing up resources for U.S. Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
Voice of San Diego, an online news outlet, reported in August that in at least two cases, Border Patrol agents apprehended immigrants crossing into the state illegally after being notified by California National Guard troops.
Newsom’s withdrawal order comes one day before he delivers his first State of the State address at 11 a.m. Tuesday. According to excerpts of the speech released by his office, the governor will say that “the border ‘emergency’ is a manufactured crisis. And California will not be part of this political theater.
“Which is why I have given the National Guard a new mission. They will refocus on the real threats facing our state.” The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
Under the new order Newsom intends to sign, 110 Guard troops now at the border will be redeployed to help the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection with fire prevention efforts, and 100 troops will conduct antidrug trafficking intelligence operations, including screening cargo at points of entry. Newsom will also request funding from the U.S. Defense Department to expand the state Guard’s antidrug task force by at least 150 members.
“This is our answer to the White House: No more division, xenophobia or nativism,” Newsom plans to say in his State of the State speech.
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