California National Guard soldiers board a UH-60 Blackhawk during training. Photo courtesy California National Guard

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced plans Monday to remove more than 250 National Guard troops from the U.S.-Mexico border, a decision quickly applauded Monday by some San Diego lawmakers.

According to Newsom’s office, only 100 of the 360 National Guard troops stationed at the border will remain there after March 31, when the state’s deployment agreement with the federal government ends. The other 260 will be reassigned around the state, with 110 supporting fire-prevention efforts and 150 moving to the state’s Counterdrug Task Force.

“The border ’emergency’ is nothing more than a manufactured crisis,” Newsom wrote on his Twitter page Monday morning. “And (California’s) National Guard will not be part of this political theater.”

Newsom is the second governor to remove National Guard troops from the border, joining New Mexico Gov. Michelle Grisham, who withdrew that state’s troops last week. Grisham publicly rebuked the Trump administration’s immigration policies when she announced the withdrawal, something Newsom echoed.

Some local lawmakers quickly backed the plan.

“The only emergency at the border is the one created by the federal government’s refusal to fulfill its responsibility to assist vulnerable families seeking asylum, and California is working with officials and organizations in San Diego to address that situation,” said Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego.

“California’s National Guard troops are needed elsewhere in the state, and I stand by Gov. Newsom’s decision to redeploy them from the border to places where they will be of far more value to our residents.”

The state’s Latino Legislative Caucus, chaired by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, also expressed support for the de-escalation plan.

“From the outset, the California Latino Caucus, as a group, has believed this entire `crisis at the border’ to be a cynical, manufactured attempt by the Trump administration to promote fear and drive a divisive wedge between Americans,” Gonzalez said in a statement by the caucus.

President Trump requested the deployment of up to 4,000 National Guard troops last April in California, New Mexico, Texas and Arizona. More than 5,000 U.S. military troops are also stationed at the border across the four states.

With California and New Mexico scaling back their National Guard deployments, 1,725 troops will remain across Texas and Arizona, according to NBC News.

Updated at 4:10 p.m. Feb. 11, 2019

— City News Service

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