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Michelle Lujan Grisham, New Mexico governor, defends pulling National Guard troops from border

February 24, 2019 GMT

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham defended Sunday her decision to defy the Trump administration by pulling National Guard troops along her state’s border with Mexico, insisting there was no “real emergency.”

“As everyone ought to be doing, I was on the border, and I’m looking and assessing whether or not there’s a real emergency or a crisis, and there isn’t,” Ms. Grisham told CBS’s “Face the Nation. “And the reality is these troops need to be available when there is a serious issue or an emergency to deal with.”

The Democratic governor issued a Feb. 5 order withdrawing most of the 118 National Guard troops stationed along New Mexico’s border, although she kept some in place to provide humanitarian assistance.

“I did place some National Guard, law enforcement and most importantly, health responders to an area where they’re forcing them to come across a really desolate area in the southern part of the state,” she said.

New Mexico Democratic @GovMLG says she pulled National Guard troops that were deployed on her states border with Mexico because these troops need to be available when there is a serious issue or an emergency to deal with. pic.twitter.com/aJjf7rtUtc Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) February 24, 2019

New Mexico is one of 16 states that filed suit last week to stop President Trump’s Feb. 15 national-emergency declaration on border security, arguing that federal funding appropriated to the states could be at risk.

Oregon Gov. Jay Inslee said “we feel good about our chances to succeed.”

“We do not have a national security emergency. Donald Trump has a political emergency,” Mr. Inslee said. “He was unable to get Mexico to pay for his wall. He does not have the support of either party and the entire U.S. Congress on a bipartisan basis has told him his wall is a colossal mistake. He ought to be responding to real emergencies like the forest fires.”

Disagreeing was Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Illinois Republican, who said he was undecided on whether the situation qualified as a national emergency until his latest visit to the border in Arizona.

“I think if this was just an issue of immigration, it wouldn’t constitute a national emergency, but what I saw was really disturbing,” Mr. Kinzinger said.

For example, Mr. Kinzinger, who was deployed earlier this month to the border as part of his Air National Guard unit, said his group found a woman at the desert whose coyotes had abandoned her.

“She got picked up by border patrol and she’s going to be deported, but that was a way better option than being one of the 200 at least bodies they end up finding in the desert every year,” said Mr. Kinzinger.

.@RepKinzinger says he thinks the crisis at the border does constitute a national emergency: I went down kind of undecided. I think if this was just an issue of immigration it wouldn’t constitute a national emergency, but what I saw was really disturbing. pic.twitter.com/XayQWgmL7x Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) February 24, 2019

House Democrats have introduced a resolution to block the emergency order, which the president has said he would veto.