Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., ordered the withdrawal of the majority of National Guard troops deployed at New Mexico's southern border, stating that her state will not take part in President Donald Trump's "fear-mongering."
"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," 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."
National Guard troops in Hidalgo County and surrounding southwestern New Mexico counties will remain to deal with the ongoing humanitarian need there as large groups of families have crossed over the border in Antelope Wells in recent months, she said.
More troops could be added if they are deemed needed, she said.
"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. 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 said.
The announcement came mere hours before Trump was to give his State of the Union Address where it is expected that he would discuss immigration. The president has been in a stalemate with the congressional Democrats in his pursuit of funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The impasse caused the country's longest government shutdown that started in December and ended late last month.
Trump has long claimed that the U.S.-Mexico border poses a security threat to the nation, and late last week it was announced that the Pentagon would deploy some 3,750 additional troops to the U.S. southern border.
In withdrawing most of the 118 troops to the New Mexico Border, Grisham called on Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, new Hampshire, South Carolina and Wisconsin to do the same.