SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) – California Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday signed an order withdrawing greater than two-thirds of the state’s Nationwide Guard troops from the U.S.-Mexico border, calling claims of an unlawful immigration disaster there nothing however “political theater.”
Newsom mentioned a lot of the roughly 360 Nationwide Guard members deployed to the border can be reassigned to different duties within the state, with about 100 remaining behind as a part of a activity pressure concentrating on drug trafficking and cartels.
“This complete border concern is a manufactured disaster. We’re not concerned with taking part on this political theater,” Newsom mentioned at a day information convention in Sacramento.
The governor, a Democrat who took workplace in January, mentioned border crossings have been at their lowest stage since 1971 and that the state’s undocumented inhabitants had dropped to a greater than 10-year low.
“That is pure politics, interval full cease,” he mentioned.
The transfer was a rebuke to President Donald Trump, who received election in 2016 partly on a populist pledge to construct a wall on the southern U.S. border which he mentioned in his marketing campaign Mexico would pay for.
Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion to assist construct that wall was central to a 35-day partial U.S. authorities shutdown that ended final month. He agreed to reopen the federal government for 3 weeks to permit lawmakers time to discover a compromise and avert one other shutdown on Feb. 15.
Newsom’s predecessor, Governor Jerry Brown, agreed to ship Nationwide Guard troops to the border final April after reaching settlement with the Trump administration that they might concentrate on preventing legal gangs and smugglers and never implement immigration legal guidelines.
New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham final week ordered the withdrawal of most Nationwide Guard troops deployed on the border by her Republican predecessor at Trump’s request final yr.
Trump has deployed an additional 3,750 U.S. troops on the border this month.
Newsom mentioned a number of the Nationwide Guard troops can be re-deployed to assist struggle what he mentioned have been mushrooming unlawful marijuana farms following approval of a 2016 poll measure to legalize leisure hashish – laws the governor helped champion.
“We have now to carry accountable those that aren’t taking part within the authorized hashish market,” he mentioned. “These unlawful grows are manifesting, getting greater.”
(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, Peter Szekely in New York, Wealthy McKay in Atlanta and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Enhancing by Sonya Hepinstall)