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Oregon’s Bisexual Governor Defies Trump, Refuses to Send Troops to Mexico Border

Kate Brown is resisting Trump.

On Wednesday, Oregon’s openly bisexual governor tweeted she would refuse to send the National Guard to the Mexico border after the president called to deploy troops in a proclamation issued the same day. Brown said she was “deeply troubled by Trump’s plan to militarize our border.”

“If @realDonaldTrump asks me to deploy Oregon Guard troops to the Mexico border, I’ll say no,” she tweeted.

In February 2017, speculation suggested that Trump planned to dispatch forces with the National Guard to “round up unauthorized immigrants” following the leak of a draft memo. This week the president made good on those promises by declaring a state of emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump claimed he had “no choice but to act.”

“The situation at the border has now reached a point of crisis,” the POTUS claimed in a memo. “The lawlessness that continues at our southern border is fundamentally incompatible with the safety, security, and sovereignty of the American people.”

Prior to the announcement, Trump warned in a series of tweets about “caravans” filled with undocumented workers entering the country.

As NBC News pointed out, that’s a distortion of what is “a planned, annual procession of migrants fleeing violence in Central America.” Organized by the outreach collective Pueblo Sin Fronteras, the program streamlines the process by which asylum seekers can come to the U.S. and apply for shelter.

In fact, the number of border crossings has sharply decreased in recent yearsreaching their lowest levels in more than four decades.

Nonetheless, several states have agreed to comply with Trump’s order. Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, all of which have Republican governors, have pledged to deploy National Guard troops to the borderwhich the president has repeatedly vowed to secure with a “big” and “beautiful” wall.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the president’s memo “reinforces Texas’ longstanding commitment to secure our southern border and uphold the Rule of Law.”

“My top priority as governor is ensuring the safety and security of Texans, and securing our southern border has always been essential to that mission,” Abbott claimed in a statement. “In my time as governor, Texas has maintained a continuous presence of National Guard members along the border, and we’ve added hundreds of permanent Department of Public Safety troopers to the region.”

The order isn’t mandatory, meaning that states have the ability to decline to offer their guardsmen to the federal government.

California Gov. Jerry Brown has signaled he would not be willing to deploy his troops without specifics from the Trump administration about how they would be usedas well as the length of time they would be stationed and how many would be needed. In a statement, California National Guard spokesman Lt. Colonel Tom Keegan said the order “will be promptly reviewed to determine how best we can assist our federal partners.”

The Oregon governor claimed Trump had yet to formally request National Guard forces from her state, which does not border Mexico. The state previously participated in Operation Jump Start between 2006 and 2008, sending 414 Oregon troops to the Southwestern United States to halt entrants from Latin America.

But even if the president does urge Oregon to join the effort, Brown said she has “no intention” of permitting the state’s guardsmen “to be used to distract from his troubles in Washington.”

The first-term Democrat is the only openly bisexual person be elected governor of a U.S. state, and the only out LGBTQ person to hold the position. Brown faces reelection in 2018 against likely GOP nominee Knute Buehler, who currently serves in the state’s House of Representatives. Early polling shows her leading by 17 points.

Photo via Scott Olson/Getty Images


Nico Lang

Nico Lang is a staff writer for INTO, covering news, politics, and global LGBTQ issues.