Ratcheting up his clash with President Donald Trump, California Gov. Gavin Newsom is ordering on Monday the removal of about 360 National Guard troops from the border with Mexico. Grisham, also a Democrat, was as critical of the president as Newsom, declaring, "New Mexico will not take part in the president's charade of border fear-mongering by misusing our diligent National Guard troops".
Instead of dedicating their time to border security, the governor plans to sign a general order to have troops redeployed to provide support on two initiatives: wildfire prevention efforts and operations to counter drugs and cartels in California, including surveillance at worldwide points of entry.
Newsom has long held up California as a more rational alternative to Trump's agenda.
At a news conference Monday, Newsom called Americans lazy, saying they should question why the Trump Administration wants to spend $5.7 billion on border security.
According to excerpts of a speech released by his office, Newsom is expected to say: "The border "emergency" is a manufactured crisis, and California will not be part of this political theater". He made clear his intention to challenge Trump on border and immigration policy, and there is no indication that this will be anything but wildly popular in California. That change requires approval from the U.S. Department of Defense.
"We are living in a state and in a nation where people that are here without documentation commit crimes at a substantially lower level than native-born citizens". When Brown, a fellow Democrat, approved the mission in April, he said no California troops would participate in immigration-related activities. They can not act as a police force or make arrests.
"This will not be a mission to build a new wall", Brown wrote at the time in a letter to Trump administration officials. "Which is why I have given the National Guard a new mission". The troops can not act to enforce the law or to make arrests. He planned to leave 100 at the border to combat drug and guns trafficking, and redeploy the remaining 260 "to more appropriate venues and to more appropriate purposes" such as wildfire abatement.
Newsom, who visited one of those shelters a month before he was sworn into office, and other California state leaders have described what Trump has called a crisis at the border as "self-induced" by the president. Under Newsom's directive, he said, Guard members would stay away from those areas and not participate in border surveillance.
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