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Santa Fe, New Mexico - 5 February 2019
1. SOUNDBITE (English) Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, (D) New Mexico:
"We're going to do evidence based, responsive, responsible, right? Investments in Hidalgo County to assist them, but I am not going to participate, nor do I think it's appropriate in any shape or fashion to use the National Guard to attempt to militarize the border when we're dealing with asylum seekers who, their constitutional rights continue to be breached in this fashion. I can do both here, meet the constitution, support those ranchers in the community that deserves our attention to solve as many of their unintended consequences related to this issue as possible."
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, (D) New Mexico:
"We will not allow any White House or federal government to breach our constitutional requirements. We will not militarize the border. We will not use our assets including the National Guard in an inappropriate way. We will also not turn a blind eye to any New Mexican who is truly at risk and who needs resources that should be shared by state and federal government to address these problems. These are not mutually exclusive and we're going to lead by example."
The governor of New Mexico ordered the withdrawal of the majority of the state's National Guard troops from the U.S. border with Mexico on Tuesday, in a move that challenges President Trump's description of a security crisis.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced the partial withdrawal on Tuesday, shortly before Trump's State of the Union address. She also directed 25 troops from other states - Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Wisconsin - to withdraw from the New Mexico border. Lujan Grisham's Republican predecessor deployed National Guard troops to the border in April 2018 at Trump's suggestion, and 118 remained there before the reversal.
At the same time, the governor said a small contingent - around a dozen guardsmen - will remain in the southwestern corner of the state to assist with humanitarian needs in a remote corridor for cross-border immigration. She also mobilized state police to assist local law enforcement. She mentioned that residents and officials in that region, particularly Hidalgo County, have asked for the state's assistance.
At remote stretches of New Mexico's border with Mexico, large numbers of Central American migrants have surrendered in recent months to U.S. authorities. The perils of the state's desert borderlands have been highlighted with the deaths of Guatemalan immigrant children Felipe Gomez Alonzo and Jakelin Caal while in U.S. custody in New Mexico.
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