On Monday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom will order 360 National Guard members to leave the state’s boundary with Mexico, according to The Los Angeles Times.
The Times quoted excerpts from Newsom’s State of the State address, which he will give on Tuesday, to illustrate Newsom’s hostility to President Trump. One excerpt reportedly calls the Trump administration’s claim of a national security crisis on the border “political theater.” Newsom will assert that he wants to “refocus on the real threats facing our state.”
Newsom is expected to shift the National Guard members to other duties, including wildfire prevention efforts and efforts to fight drugs and cartels across the state. 110 members are expected to work with the California Department of Forestry and Fire; 100 members will be transferred to intelligence operations against drug cartels. The Times added, “The governor’s office is separately requesting funding from the federal government to add at least 150 troops with the California National Guard’s Counterdrug Task Force, according to Nathan Click, a spokesman for the governor.”
The Times quoted the speech asserting, “The Border ‘emergency’ is a manufactured crisis. This is our answer to the White House: No more division, xenophobia or nativism.”
Newsom’s removal of the National Guard members from the border follows New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s order to remove her state’s troops just before President Trump’s State of the Union address last week. She referred to “the president’s charade of border fear-mongering.” Her statement read:
I reject the federal contention that there exists an overwhelming national security crisis at the southern border, along which are some of the safest communities in the country. However, I recognize and appreciate the legitimate concerns of residents and officials in southwestern New Mexico, particularly Hidalgo County, who have asked for our assistance, as migrants and asylum-seekers continue to appear at their doorstep.
We will support our neighbors where the need for assistance is great, and we will offer a helping hand when we can to those vulnerable people who arrive at our border, but New Mexico will not take part in the president’s charade of border fear-mongering by misusing our diligent National Guard troops. We will deploy our men and women in uniform only where there is a need, and where their presence can make a genuine difference in ensuring public safety and an easing of the humanitarian concerns at our southern border.
Assemblyman Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) applauded Newsom’s decision, blustering, “The only way to beat a bully is to push him back and let him fall.”
Patricia Gándara, co-director of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA, echoed, “I think we grew up and we realized that immigrants were not a threat. We’re the fifth-largest economy in the world. And we have the largest percentage of immigrants in our state. How do you reconcile that if you think immigrants are taking our jobs and bringing down the economy?”
Prior to Newsom’s inauguration as governor, former Gov. Jerry Brown had yielded to Trump’s request to send 400 National Guard troops to the border. He said he had yielded because he got the federal government to ante up for it and the members were still supervised by the state.
Then-California Senate leader Kevin De León wrote a June 2018 letter to Brown, stating, “Now, the Trump Administration is using the California National Guard to free up federal resources to pursue and lock up women and children fleeing violence, instead of focusing on serious drug cartel and human trafficking cases at the border.”