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California governor to order National Guard troops back from border with Mexico

Gov. Gavin Newsom's move comes a week after the governor of New Mexico withdrew most of her state's troops from the southern border.
Border Wall Funding The Focus Of Continued Partial Government Shutdown
A border patrol agent keeps watch along the U.S.-Mexico border on Jan. 25, 2019 near Calexico, California.Scott Olson / Getty Images file

California Gov. Gavin Newsom will announce plans Monday to pull back all members of the National Guard who have been deployed to the border with Mexico, saying the state would not be part of the Trump administration's "manufactured crisis."

The 360 National Guard troops in California will be redeployed to fight wildfires, expand the state's Drug Task Force and collect intelligence on drug cartels, Newsom will announce.

Newsom's decision comes a week after New Mexico Gov. Michelle Grisham ordered most of her state's National Guard troops back from the border, citing President Donald Trump's "border fear-mongering" as the only reason for their deployment.

Image: California Gov. Gavin Newsom
California Gov. Gavin Newsom Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Former California Gov. Jerry Brown agreed to the deployment of the National Guard troops last year, but said they would not be used to enforce immigration laws. Brown, Newsom and Grisham are Democrats.

"The border 'emergency' is a manufactured crisis," Newsom will say in his State of the State address on Tuesday, according to prepared marks. "And California will not be part of this political theater.

"Which is why I have given the National Guard a new mission," he continued. "They will refocus on the real threats facing our state."

In April 2018, Trump authorized up to 4,000 National Guard troops to be deployed in the four border states of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California. After California removes the 360 troops, 1,145 will remain in Texas and 580 in Arizona.

The National Guard troops at the border are in addition to over 5,500 active duty troops deployed to the same areas. Neither active duty nor National Guard troops are permitted to apprehend immigrants, but are intended to support Customs and Border Protection by reinforcing existing barriers and providing medical aid.

Just across the border from San Diego, thousands of immigrants wait in Tijuana, Mexico, for a chance to claim asylum. However, under the practice of "metering" used by the Trump administration, roughly 40 immigrants a day are permitted to pass to make their claims.

CORRECTION (Feb. 12, 2019, 5:10 p.m. ET): An earlier version of this article contained an outdated photograph of National Guard troops with an incorrect date in the caption. The photo has been replaced.