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Martinez talks border security with Trump

Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal

Gov. Susana Martinez dined Monday evening with President Donald Trump and four other GOP governors at the White House.

On the menu?

A discussion about immigration and border security, hot-button issues that have made allies of Trump and Martinez after back-and-forth criticism of one another during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Martinez has been on the East Coast for political meetings since last week, and she traveled from New York to Washington, D.C., to attend Monday’s dinner at the White House, said Emilee Cantrell, a spokeswoman for the governor.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster were the other governors who attended the dinner, according to CBS News. All are Republicans.

Martinez, the state’s two-term Republican governor, has heeded Trump’s recent call to deploy National Guard members to the Mexican border to assist federal Border Patrol agents.

Under Martinez’s instructions, about 60 New Mexico National Guard members are serving in a support role on the border, helping with vehicle maintenance and taking care of horses used by Border Patrol agents on mounted patrols in rugged desert terrain.

Eventually, up to 150 state National Guard members could be deployed on the mission, though law enforcement officers who are Guard members have been exempted.

“The protection of our border is everything to make sure Americans are safe,” Martinez said during a news conference last month while touring the Santa Teresa Border Patrol Station.

“We do not want the illegal trafficking of drugs and sex trafficking that takes place and comes through the border, and then impacts the cities in the northern part of New Mexico,” the governor also said.

The dinner also reportedly included a discussion of sanctuary cities, as the Trump administration has vowed to withhold resources from cities that don’t cooperate with federal authorities.

But some New Mexico cities haven’t been swayed by the threat, with both Santa Fe and Albuquerque refusing to allow local law enforcement to assist federal agents on immigration enforcement.

The issue of border security has also come up in New Mexico’s 2018 gubernatorial race, as Martinez is barred from seeking a third consecutive term in office and will step down at the end of this year. Some candidates and other prominent New Mexico officials have been critical of Trump’s call for National Guard troops at the border.

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