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Gov. Tony Evers withdraws Wisconsin National Guard from border

Posted at 4:23 PM, Feb 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-25 18:59:09-05

Gov. Tony Evers announced Monday he has issued an executive order to withdraw Wisconsin National Guard personnel from the Mexican border.

Former Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, deployed Wisconsin National Guard troopsto the Arizona-Mexican border last summer after Arizona asked for help securing the border.

Evers, a Democrat, said approximately 112 Wisconsin soldiers and airmen are at the border.

“Keeping all of our borders safe and crime-free, and protecting immigrants who seek asylum at our borders, many of whom are women and children, is the responsibility of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol,” Evers said in a news release. “There is simply not ample evidence to support the president’s contention that there exists a national security crisis at our southwestern border. Therefore, there is no justification for the ongoing presence of Wisconsin National Guard personnel at the border. I cannot support keeping our brave service men and women away from their families without a clear need or purpose that would actively benefit the people of Wisconsin or our nation.”

Earlier in the year, President Donald Trump directed the Department of Defense to assist federal authorities in securing the border.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, a Republican, issued the following statement about Evers' order:

“Governor Evers’ decision is more about political ideology than anything else. The troop withdrawal doesn’t save any Wisconsin taxpayer dollars. The operation is federally funded. It’s yet another example of how our governor is catering to his Dane County liberal base and refusing to do what’s best for our state and in this case, the entire nation.”

Adam Kinzinger, a Republican congressman from Illinois, tweeted on Monday that he is a member of the Wisconsin National Guard and ripped Evers for his decision. In a series of tweets he said he was deployed to the border as a member of the Wisconsin National Guard and his crew caught a man crossing the border with 70 pounds of methamphetamine.

"Wonder the damage that would do in Milwaukee ..." he tweeted.

He went on to claim that he and his crew "captured a few coyotes, who prey on desperate migrants" and he came across a woman alone in the desert and helped the border patrol rescue her.

He tweeted that stopping illegal immigration is an honorable mission and asked Evers whether his decision to withdraw was a political one. He also asked Evers to reconsider.

Kinzinger echoed those sentiments during an appearance on Fox News, criticizing Evers for never visiting the troops on the border and accused the governor of lacking the courage to announce the withdrawal earlier in the day.

A Wisconsin National Guard spokeswoman didn't immediately respond to an email seeking to confirm whether Kinzinger is a Wisconsin National Guard member and whether he would face any military discipline for criticizing Evers, the state National Guard's commander in chief.

A Kinzinger spokeswoman in Washington, D.C., also didn't immediately respond to an email.

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson also disagreed with the Democratic governor's order, increasing the following statement:

"Securing our borders is a top priority of our nation, and I'm proud of Wisconsin's National Guard for playing a valued role. It's unfortunate Governor Evers doesn't agree, and has decided to withdraw them from their important mission."