Several governors across the country are canceling the deployment of their National Guard troops near the US-Mexico border in response to the Trump administration’s practice of separating immigrant families.
And, in a symbolic gesture, governors who have not yet sent troops to the border are pledging to withhold resources.
President Donald Trump signed a memorandum to send National Guard troops to secure the US-Mexico border in April after hearing of a migrant caravan making its way through Mexico.
Here’s a look at what some state officials say they plan to do:
Pulling back troops
Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, recalled four soldiers and one helicopter, saying the state would be “ready to return and contribute to the real work of keeping our nation safe” when the enforcement of the zero-tolerance policy ends.
“When Virginia deployed these resources to the border, we expected that they would play a role in preventing criminals, drug runners and other threats to our security from crossing into the United States — not supporting a policy of arresting families and separating children from their parents,” Northam said in a statement.
Four crew members and one helicopter were ordered to immediately leave New Mexico and no more resources will be deployed to the region at the moment, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said.
“Washington has failed again & again to deliver needed immigration reform – Congress and the administration must step up and work together to fix our broken system. Immigration enforcement efforts should focus on criminals, not separating innocent children from their families,” tweeted Logan, a Republican.
Gov. Roy Cooper has ordered that three soldiers working in the border region return to North Carolina, CNN affiliate WTVD reported.
“The cruel policy of tearing children away from their parents requires a strong response,” Cooper, a Democrat, said in a statement.
Won’t be sending troops
Gov. John Hickenlooper signed an executive order Monday limiting the use of state resources “to separate children from parents or legal guardians on sole ground of immigration status.”
Hickenlooper, a Democrat, said he recognizes the importance of “maintaining safety at our international borders” but intentionally separating families is “cruel and un-American,” he wrote.
The governor said it’s “deeply troubling” that the US government “would participate in such inhumane actions.”
Gov. John Carney, also a Democrat, refused to send his state’s soldiers to the southwest border when he was asked to on Tuesday.
“Under normal circumstances, we wouldn’t hesitate to answer the call. But given what we know about the policies currently in effect at the border, I can’t in good conscience send Delawareans to help with that mission,” he said in a statement.
“If President Trump revokes the current inhumane policy of separating children from their parents, Delaware will be first in line to assist our sister states in securing the border,” he added. “I served in Congress, and I watched for six years as that body failed to pass a comprehensive immigration policy that would secure our borders in a way that upholds the values of this great country. Congress and the President need to step up and fix the mess that our immigration system has become.”
Gov. Charlie Baker directed the state National Guard not to send any assets or personnel to the US-Mexico border because of the Trump administration’s “inhumane treatment” of children, communications director Lizzy Guyton said in a statement.
Baker, a moderate Republican in a largely Democratic state, said the practice is “cruel and inhumane.”
“We told the National Guard to hold steady and to not go down to the border, period,” Baker told CNN affiliate WHDH. “We won’t be supporting that initiative unless they change the policy.”
In a statement, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu said Tuesday that he will not send his state’s troops to the border, CNN affiliate WMUR reported.
He also noted that he has not been contacted by federal authorities.
New York state also will not deploy the National Guard to the border, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday, citing the treatment of families at the border as 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,” Cuomo, a Democrat, added in a statement. “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.”
Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo has not been asked yet but she has announced that she would not be sending troops to the border amid the Trump’s administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, which she described as “immoral, unjust and un-American.”
“Children should be with their families, not trapped in cages, sobbing and calling out for their parents. The Administration’s immigration policy goes against everything we value as Rhode Islanders, as Americans and as decent people,” she said in a statement.
“The President alone can end family separation. I’m standing with all good-hearted people in our nation and calling on President Trump to end this inhumane policy.”
Gov. Kate Brown had said that if President Trump asks her to dispatch members of her state’s National Guard to the US southern border, she’ll “say no.”
In a set of tweets in April, Brown, a Democrat, said she was “deeply troubled” by Trump’s plan to send members of the US military to the border and implied that the President is doing so as a political distraction.