(Reuters) – Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Monday signed an order withdrawing the state’s National Guard troops from the U.S.-Mexico border, saying there was not enough evidence of a national security crisis to justify keeping them there.
The Democratic governor’s decision to pull back around 112 troops follows similar moves by Democratic leaders of New Mexico and California who said President Donald Trump, a Republican, had invented a crisis on the border for political gain.
“There is simply not ample evidence to support the president’s contention that there exists a national security crisis at our southwestern border,” Evers said in a statement, adding that securing the border was the responsibility of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.
The move was a rebuke to Trump, who won election in 2016 partly on a populist pledge to build a wall on the southern U.S. border.
Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion to help build the wall was central to a 35-day partial U.S. government shutdown that ended last month. After Congress refused to grant him the funds, Trump declared a national emergency to gain money for the wall.
A coalition of 16 states led by California sued Trump this month over his use of emergency powers.
California Governor Gavin Newsom said Trump’s claims of an illegal immigration crisis was “political theater” at a time when border crossings were at their lowest level since 1971.
Trump deployed an additional 3,750 U.S. troops to the border this month, taking the total number of active duty and National Guard forces supporting Customs and Border Protection agents to more than 6,500.
(Reporting by Andrew Hay in New Mexico; editing by Bill Tarrant and G Crosse)
(FILE PHOTO: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tony Evers speaks at an election eve rally in Madison, Wisconsin, U.S. November 5, 2018. REUTERS-Nick Oxford)