February 5, 2019

In defiance of what Trump calls a ‘national security crisis,’ NM governor pulls most National Guard troops from border

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Gary Goodenough

Border fence between the United States and Mexico. Flickr/cc

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Tuesday that she withdrew most of New Mexico’s National Guard troops from the border.

Troops in Hidalgo County and neighboring, however, will remain in place. She also temporarily deployed six New Mexico State Police officers to Hidalgo County to assist local law enforcement agencies.

“I reject 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,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement. “However, 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.”

A spokeswoman for Lujan Grisham said that between 11 and 15 National Guard troops will remain deployed, out of 118 before her order. Then-Gov. Susana Martinez had sent 200 troops to the border last April.

Lujan Grisham also directed state National Guard leadership to assess whether additional troops are needed in the area.

Nationally, about 2,100 National Guard troops are stationed along the border. Sunday, the Pentagon announced it is sending another 3,750 active duty soldiers to the border, bringing the total of active-duty troops deployed to around 6,000.

Ranchers in Hidalgo County, which shares an 87-mile border with Mexico, told KOB-TV things were getting worse in the area. Trump tweeted a portion of the story on Jan. 27.

The New York Times reported an increased number of crossings at the remote Antelope Wells Port of Entry is due to new limits on asylum seekers at busier ports of entry in more-populated areas.The influx of those crossing the border is straining medical resources in the area.

Lujan Grisham also ordered National Guard troops deployed from Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Wisconsin to return home. Lujan Grisham’s office says 25 National Guard troops from these states were deployed in New Mexico.