California plans to pull National Guard troops from US-Mexico border

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U.S. Marines with the 7th Engineer Support Battalion, Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force 7, walk along the California-Mexico border at the Andrade Point of Entry in Winterhaven, California, Nov.30, 2018 (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Ethan Valetski)

WASHINGTON — The California governor is expected to announce a redeployment of his state’s National Guard troops from the US-Mexico border, the second governor in a week to make such a move.

Gov. Gavin Newsom will outline plans to reassign the 360 National Guard troops in the border mission to other duties during his State of the State address on Tuesday, NBC News and other media reported.

“The border ’emergency’ is a manufactured crisis,” Newsom is expected to announce in his State of the State remarks, according to NBC News. “And California will not be part of this political theater. Which is why I have given the National Guard a new mission. They will refocus on the real threats facing our state.”

Pentagon officials did not provide a comment on the governor’s expected action.

Last week New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grishman returned 118 New Mexico guard forces at the border back to civilian life. She also ordered 25 Guard troops from other states to depart from the New Mexico border.

“New Mexico will not take part in the president’s charade of border fear-mongering by misusing our diligent National Guard troops,” she said then, according to news reports.

About 2,200 National Guard troops were initially deployed to assist the Department of Homeland Security on the border under Operation Guardian Support. That deployment started last April and is open-ended. Once the California troops depart, there will be an estimated 1,145 guard troops in Texas and 580 in Arizona, according to news reports.

Active-duty troops first arrived at the border on Oct. 29, 2018 and reached 5,600 on Nov. 8, 2018. That number edged up to 5,900 and then dropped steadily until Super Bowl Sunday, when the Pentagon announced the deployment of 3,750 active troops.

Those new troops will boost the number of active forces at the border to 4,350.

There are no active-duty forces on the New Mexico-Mexico border, one of the desolate sections of the divide between the two nations.

The initial deployment, called Operation Faithful Patriot, was to end in mid-December. That was extended until Jan. 30, 2019, and then extended again until Sept. 30, 2019.

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