California’s governor Gavin Newsom (D) on Monday announced that he will withdraw most of the state’s National Guard troops who are stationed at the southern border.
Newsom will withdraw about 260 of the 360 troops at the border, according to The Associated Press.
A spokeswoman for Newsom told the news agency that the governor is expected to address the situation in his State of the State speech on Tuesday, and will refer to President Trump’s description of an “emergency” at the border with Mexico as “political theater.”
“The border ‘emergency’ is a manufactured crisis, and California will not be part of this political theater,” Newsom is expected to say, the news service reported.
Trump ordered border states to send National Guard troops to the border last April amid an increasingly contentious national debate on border security.
When then-Gov. Jerry Brown (D) agreed to deploy the National Guard troops, he said in his statement that those deployed “will not enforce immigration laws or participate in the construction of any new border barrier.”
Last week, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) ordered the withdrawal of most of the state’s National Guard troops, and issued a statement rejecting “the federal contention that there exists an overwhelming national security crisis at the southern border.”
Newsom’s move comes ahead of a Feb. 15 deadline for lawmakers in Washington, D.C. to reach a deal on border security or risk another government shutdown.
His office told the AP that the approximately 100 troops to remain deployed will focus their efforts on combatting drug and gun smuggling. The reportedly governor plans to reassign some of the other troops to the state’s fire preparation efforts and an expansion of the counter drug task force.
Newsom plans to ask the state’s National Guard to begin immediately withdrawing the troops, according to the AP.
Newsom, the former mayor of San Francisco, has been critical of Trump’s immigration policies and the actions of some federal immigration authorities at the border.