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California governor to withdraw National Guard from border

California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks at his election night watch party in Los Angeles, California on November 6, 2018

In a rebuke to President Donald Trump, the governor of California on Monday was set to sign an order to pull most of the National Guard troops deployed on the Mexico border.

Governor Gavin Newsom's office said he was signing the order ahead of his State of the State speech on Tuesday.

"The border 'emergency' is a manufactured crisis," according to excerpts of the speech sent to AFP by his office. "And California will not be part of this political theater."

Newsom's office said most of the 360 troops deployed at the US-Mexico border will be redeployed to focus on "the actual threats" facing the western state, such as wildfires.

The decision follows similar action last month by New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grusham, who ordered the withdrawal of the majority of National Guard troops at the border.

Although Trump has ordered thousands of military personnel to be deployed on the southern border, the National Guard remain under the command of authorities in each state.

Trump argues the troops, who are supposed to provide surveillance and assist border agents, are needed to fight illegal immigration. The troops cannot act to enforce the law or to make arrests.

Newsom's predecessor, Jerry Brown, also a Democrat, last April approved the deployment of California National Guard troops but vowed they would not take part in any mission to build Trump's long-sought border wall or to enforce federal immigration laws.