Opposing Family Separation, Governors Cancel National Guard Troops On The Border

Jun 19, 2018

Updated 3:30 p.m. ET

In opposition to the Trump administration's practice of separating immigrant families, at least five governors, including two Republicans, say they will not send their National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border.

"Until this policy of separating children from their families has been rescinded, Maryland will not deploy any National Guard resources to the border," Gov. Larry Hogan tweeted Tuesday. He said he called back four crew members and a helicopter that were stationed in New Mexico.

"Immigration enforcement efforts should focus on criminals, not separating innocent children from their families," he also tweeted.

On Monday, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker canceled a planned deployment of the state's National Guard to the border, according to WGBH. A helicopter, aircrew, and military analysts from Massachusetts were scheduled to go to the border at the end of the month. Baker told the station in May he had a "huge problem" with the administration's practice of separating children from their families.

President Trump signed a proclamation in April to deploy National Guard to the border, saying he wanted 2,000-4,000 troops. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said the order directed her department and the Pentagon to work with governors along the southern border. The move was met with mixed reaction back then from governors and local officials.

Meanwhile, at least four non-border Democratic governors — some of whom already opposed Trump's request to deploy troops — said they would not send their National Guards to the border. One took a different action to oppose family separation.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam ordered four soldiers and one helicopter to return from Arizona "until the federal government ends its enforcement of a zero-tolerance policy that separates children from their parents."

"Virginia benefits from the important work of securing our border and we have a responsibility to contribute to that mission," Northam said in a statement. "However, we also have a responsibility to stand up to policies or actions that run afoul of the values that define us as Americans."

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the administration's treatment of families at the border "a moral outrage and an affront to the values that built this state and this nation."

"In the face of this ongoing human tragedy, let me be very clear: New York will not be party to this inhumane treatment of immigrant families," he said in a statement Monday. "We will not deploy National Guard to the border, and we will not be complicit in a political agenda that governs by fear and division."

Gov. Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island said she hadn't been asked to deploy troops to the border but if she were she would decline.

"The Trump Administration's family separation policy is immoral, unjust and un-American," she said in a statement. "I have not yet been asked, but if I am, I will not deploy units from the Rhode Island National Guard to the southern border to support the Administration's policy that is ripping families apart."

In Connecticut, Gov. Dannel Malloy said he will "not condone the use of our military reservists to participate in any effort at the border that is connected to this inhumane practice. This vile practice must end."

Back in April, Colorado's governor said he'd be open to deploying troops to the border. He hasn't commented on National Guard troops recently, but took separate action to oppose the administration's family separation practice. Gov. John Hickenlooper signed an executive order Monday preventing Colorado's state agencies from "using state resources to separate children from their parents or legal guardians on the sole ground of immigration status."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.