New Mexico governor pulls back National Guard troops from southern border

Evarado Alatorre
Febrero 9, 2019

Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a statement released shortly before the president addressed the nation during the State of the Union Tuesday.

She also "directed that troops in Hidalgo County and surrounding southwestern New Mexico counties remain in place to assist with the ongoing humanitarian needs of communities there, who have seen large groups of families, women and children crossing over the border in the remote Antelope Wells area in recent months".

While Lujan Grisham said she did not believe there was a "national security crisis" at the border, she said she did "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".

On Tuesday, she also directed 25 troops from other states - Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Wisconsin - to withdraw from the New Mexico border. She took Trump's signature issue - the so-called brown hordes are coming over the border to attack America - and said no.

"We will support our neighbours where the need for assistance is great, and we will offer a helping hand when we can to those vulnerable people who arrive at our border, but New Mexico will not take part in the president's charade of border fear-mongering by misusing our diligent National Guard troops", Grisham said.

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Under the governor's direction, state National Guard leadership will immediately assess whether an augmented presence in the southwestern part of the state is needed.

Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham, a New Mexico Democrat, speaks at a news conference on February 16, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Now governor of New Mexico, Lujan Grisham has ordered the withdrawal of the majority of National Guard troops deployed to the southern border.

This group only consists of around 12 guardsmen, though, and six New Mexico State Police officers, according to the Associated Press. "Maj. Gen. Kenneth Nava, the adjutant general of New Mexico, and his staff are working on retrograde operations for other support state's National Guard troops". She called Trump's frequent declarations of an immigration crisis at the border a "charade". She argued Wednesday that "the President should lead by removing himself from this political, angry, racist rhetoric" and "lean in and help us with real border security". Her demand for evidence-based solutions - barriers to stop vehicles, improvements to failing barbed wire, better monitoring, even basic road maintenance - is what we need for true strengthening of the border.

Several governors have canceled or refused the deployment of their National Guard troops in response to the Trump administration's family separations policy.

The effort passed the state House on a 40-29 vote Wednesday night.

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