Citing Child Separation Policy, Governors Refuse Trump's Call for More Border Troops

by | June 20, 2018 AT 10:00 AM

By Terrence Dopp

A bipartisan group of seven governors rejected President Donald Trump's request to send their states' National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border because they object to the administration's policy of separating minor children from asylum-seeking adults.

Democrats Andrew Cuomo of New York, Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island, John Carney of Delaware and Dannel Malloy of Connecticut said they wouldn't send troops. Republican Charlie Baker of Massachusetts told The Boston Globe his state won't provide National Guard troops at the border over the separations. Democrat Ralph Northam of Virginia and Republican Larry Hogan of Maryland each went as far as pulling back crews that had been deployed to the Southwest.

In April, Trump directed the departments of Defense and Homeland Security to work with governors to deploy National Guard troops to the border region to assist in security. The deployments became politically charged in recent days by his "zero-tolerance" practice of splitting up families that enter the country illegally while seeking asylum.

"Until this policy of separating children from their families has been rescinded, Maryland will not deploy any National Guard resources to the border," Hogan said Tuesday on Twitter. "Earlier this morning, I ordered our 4 crewmembers & helicopter to immediately return from where they were stationed in New Mexico."

Trump hardened his resolve to maintain his policy of separating children from parents amid an intensifying backlash from the public and lawmakers.

Trump said Tuesday at a speech to a small-business trade group in Washington that he has "only two options" for immigration enforcement, either "totally open borders or criminal prosecution for law-breaking."

The administration has given varying rationales for the policy. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said it was implemented to serve as a deterrent to people trying to get into the U.S. illegally. Trump has claimed the administration was just following the law and falsely blamed Democrats for blocking changes. Some congressional Republicans have blamed a 1997 court settlement, though no previous administration has undertaken a similar policy.

(Shannon Pettypiece and Laura Litvan contributed to this report.)

(c)2018 Bloomberg News