Governor Newsom Announces Draw Down of California National Guard on Southern Border

National Guard personnel will be redeployed to support CAL FIRE in fire prevention work and to tackle transnational criminal organizations, which are the root cause of many asylum claims

SACRAMENTO February 11, 2019 – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced that he has signed a General Order rescinding previous authorization for California National Guard operations at the U.S.-Mexico border that allowed California National Guard personnel to perform duties traditionally undertaken by the federal government there.

“The Border ‘emergency’ is a manufactured crisis. And California will not be part of this political theater. Which is why I have given the National Guard a new mission. They will refocus on the real threats facing our state,” said Governor Newsom. “This is our answer to the White House: No more division, xenophobia or nativism.”

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Currently, approximately 360 members of the California National Guard are deployed at the U.S.-Mexico border. These National Guard personnel were deployed at the request of the White House to provide support for the federal government in border operations.

Last week, President Trump announced he will be deploying 3,750 U.S. military personnel to the U.S.-Mexico border. Governor Newsom’s order cites this development as yet more reason for California to reprioritize its National Guard deployment.

Governor Newsom’s order redeploys these personnel to focus on the actual threats facing the State of California. It does so by:

  • Authorizing 110 personnel to prepare for the upcoming fire season by supporting CAL FIRE in fire prevention and fire suppression efforts;
  • Authorizing the expansion of the California National Guard’s statewide Counterdrug Task Force by at least 150 personnel; and
  • Authorizing 100 personnel to conduct counter narcotics search and seizure operations targeting transnational criminal organization around ports of entry.

The guard will begin making preparations to carry out the order immediately and draw down by March 31, 2019.

The Governor today also sent a letter to Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan requesting financial support from the federal government to expand the California National Guard’s statewide Counterdrug Task Force, starting with – but not limited to – redeploying 150 personnel from the border. The text of the order issued by Governor Newsom in his capacity as the Commander-in-Chief of the California National Guard is available here.