California Gov. Gavin Newsom, center, discusses his decision to withdraw several hundred National Guard troops from the nation's southern border and changing their mission, during a Capitol news conference Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif. Newsom, accompanied by from left, Mark Ghilarducci, director of the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, Maj. Gen. David Baldwin, the Adjutant General of the California Military Department, Warren Stanley, Commissioner of the California Highway Patrol, right, and Thom Porter, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, right, said he will order the troops to leave by the end of March but will leave 100 troops to focus on drug trafficking. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Newsom said Monday he is seeking the withdrawal because California troops have been operating cameras and doing other surveillance work that can inadvertently aid in immigration enforcement.
Former Gov. Jerry Brown agreed to deploy troops last year at the request of the Trump administration. Brown said the troops couldn’t engage in immigration activities.
Newsom wants to rewrite the state’s agreement with the federal government to deploy 100 troops instead of the roughly 360 that are there.
He says Guard officials convinced him there is good work being done to combat drug trafficking.
The governor wants to reassign 250 troops to other drug-related activities as well as wildfire prevention.
The Trump administration hasn’t commented.