In a sharp rebuke to President Donald Trump California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday he is withdrawing hundreds of National Guard troops from the Mexican border.
In a statement Newsom said:
“The border ‘emergency’ is a manufactured crisis. California will not be part of this political theater. This is our answer to the White House: No more division, xenophobia or nativism.”
New California Gov. Gavin Newsom to recall troops from U.S.-Mexico border https://t.co/BJY9Isjejr
— UPI.com (@UPI) February 11, 2019
The move by the newly-elected governor is a repudiation of Trump’s claims that a recent influx of Central American refugees and migrants is a national security crisis. Trump blamed illegal immigration for straining the country’s economy and resources. He also said it has increased crime, despite overwhelming evidence that immigrants commit crime at lower rates than native-born Americans.
The Pentagon last week announced that it would send 3,750 troops to the border in coming months, where they are expected to install 150 miles of concertina wire and aid Customs and Border Protection, according to the Pentagon.
“The lawless state of our southern border is a threat to the safety, security, and financial well being of all Americans,” Trump said. “We have a moral duty to create an immigration system that protects the lives and jobs of our citizens.”
Newsom’s announcement came one day before the he is set to deliver his first State of the State address on Tuesday. This will give him the chance to counter Trump’s State of the Union address from last week and other recent statements where he said that immigrants pose a national emergency to the United States.
In his statement released this morning, Newsom said he is giving the California National Guard a new mission so that troops would not take part in the White House’s “political theater.” He said he wants the Guard instead to “refocus on the real threats facing our state.”
For example, he said he would sign a general order to redeploy the troops to support wildfire prevention efforts and to expand operations to counter drugs and cartels across California. He also said there would be a new group of troops trained to spot narcotics stationed at the state’s international points of entry.
Newsom’s move is an escalation of a long-running battle over immigration between California and the Trump administration. The state’s Democratic government has pledged to serve as a buffer to Trump’s hard-line rhetoric and policies.
Newsom is the second governor from a border state to pull National Guard troops assigned to the Mexican border. Last week, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham ordered the removal of most her state’s troops just hours before the president’s State of the Union address.
In her announcement Grisham said:
“We reject the federal contention that there exists an overwhelming national security crisis at the southern border. New Mexico will not take part in the president’s charade of border fear-mongering by misusing our diligent National Guard troops.”
Trump is trying to stoke fear in Americans, but governors of states along the Mexican borders know better. There is no national emergency, and Trump’s only goal is to create enough fear to get more racist people to vote for him again. Trump is doomed, and playing the immigration card is all he has left, but it won’t work.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.