SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Governor Gavin Newsom has made it clear that he doesn’t buy into President Trump’s border wall. Newsom called Trump’s ‘Crisis at the border’ political theater and says California needs to use its National Guard troops to fight wildfires and the ever-growing number of illegal cannabis operations.
“The whole thing is the theater of the absurd and California has had enough,” said Gov. Newsom during a press conference Monday.
He took a stand on where he sits on a border wall saying it’s not needed.
“We have 550,000 fewer people in this state without documentation than we did a decade ago. This is pure politics,” said Newsom.
That’s why he ordered two-thirds of the approximately 360 California National Guardsman at the U.S. – Mexico border to redeploy to two fronts: fighting wildfires and expanding the state’s counter-drug task force.
“Illegal grows are manifesting, getting bigger more stubborn, more acute, and they are an environmental concern and a fire hazard,” said Newsom.
Instead of immigration detention operations which traditionally have been performed by the Department of Homeland Security, the 100 remaining troops will now focus on drug and gun smuggling.
California National Guard Major General David Baldwin spoke on the matter.
“And those jobs will be doing the cargo container searches at port-of-entry that are border patrol checkpoints throughout Southern Cal and also our criminal intelligence analysts,” said Baldwin.
The governor says having all the troops there is impacting their readiness for redeployment overseas. We also wonders why they are needed when the president is asking for thousands of troops to be sent to the national border.
“So if you’re going to add 3,750 troops to the national border, why do you need the National Guard? It’s ludicrous!” exclaimed Newsom.
Republican leadership at the state capital thinks the governor is playing politics and putting our communities at risk.
“There’s always going to be people out there that take advantage of somebody else.. that’s unfortunate. And that’s why we have agencies there for enforcement, for protection. We need that there,” said Assemblyman Devon Mathis (R-Visalia).
Newsom’s assignment for the National Guard will take effect at the end of March. He said he needed to make the announcement Monday because of a 45-day notification requirement.
Newsom also said he plans to speak more about this move at his State of the State address Tuesday.