New Mexico governor orders National Guard troops to leave U.S. Mexico border

Posted at 12:10 PM, Feb 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-06 14:14:32-05
Michelle Lujan Grisham
File photo of New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)

SANTA FE, N.M. – New Mexico’s governor ordered the withdrawal of most of the 118 National Guard troops at the U.S.-Mexico border Tuesday night.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, released a statement about the decision Tuesday night, which read in part:

“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.” she said in her statement.

She said she will allow the troops deployed in Hidalgo County, in far southwestern New Mexico, to remain there because “migrants and asylum-seekers continue to appear at their doorstep.”

Lujan Grisham’s order also directed troops from Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Wisconsin to return home.

She also called some of the communities along the border “some of the safest communities in the country.”

Lujan Grisham’s order comes just days after the Pentagon announced it would deploy 3,750 more troops to the southern border, bringing the total number of troops to the border to 4,350. It’s not clear how many of those were set to be deployed to New Mexico.

Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan said those troops will install wire barriers and conduct mobile surveillance of the border area.

The first active-duty troops were sent to the border on about Oct. 30 for a mission that was to end Dec. 15. It has since been extended twice.

(The Associated Press contributed to this story)