The governor of New Mexico has ordered the withdrawal of the majority of National Guard troops stationed at the U.S. state's southern border, denouncing as "a charade" President Donald Trump's warnings about migrants swarming the border.
"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," Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a statement.
Her order for the troop withdrawal came shortly before Trump delivered his State of the Union address Tuesday evening, during which he vowed to build his disputed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Grisham's order covers most of New Mexico's deployed troops as well as troops from Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Wisconsin who had been deployed at the border. Her office said the troops number 118 in all.
Grisham said some troops would remain in place to provide humanitarian assistance to communities in the area that have had to deal with an influx of families, women and children crossing the border.
"We will support our neighbors 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.
"We will deploy our men and women in uniform only where there is a need, and where their presence can make a genuine difference in ensuring public safety and an easing of the humanitarian concerns at our southern border," she added.
Trump has demanded $5.7 billion to build a border wall, shutting down the government for 35 days in a failed attempt to pressure Democrats to approve it as part of a budget deal. On Sunday, the Pentagon said it was sending an additional 3,750 troops to the border to help install wire barriers and monitor crossings. That would bring the total number of active, duty personnel there to almost 6,000.
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