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By Julia Ainsley and Jacob Soboroff
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.
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.
“The border ’emergency’ is a manufactured crisis,” Newsom will say in his State of the State address Tuesday. “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 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.
Julia Ainsley is a national security reporter for NBC News.