In an attempt to challenge President Trump’s warning of a security crisis at the southern border, the Democratic governor of New Mexico ordered the withdrawal of the state’s National Guard troops from the U.S. border with Mexico.
Hours before the president’s State of the Union address Tuesday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced the partial withdrawal.
The governor also directed 25 troops from Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Wisconsin to withdraw 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,” Grisham said in a statement.
The governor said she rejected “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.
“All of this talk about walls tonight,” Grisham said in the tweet in reference to Trump’s address, while also adding the #SOTU hashtag.
— MichelleLujanGrisham (@Michelle4NM) February 6, 2019
Grisham’s Republican predecessor, former Gov. Susana Martinez, followed Trump’s recommendation and deployed National Guard troops to the border in April 2018 and 118 troops remained there before she executed the withdrawal.
She mobilized the state’s police to assist with law enforcement at the southwestern corner of the New Mexico and allowed approximately a dozen guards in the southwestern corner to remain to assist with humanitarian needs.
“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,” the governor said.
Nonetheless, the Pentagon announced Sunday it would send 3,750 more troops to the southern border, to install wire barriers and monitor crossings, bringing the number of active-duty troops there to around 6,000.