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Governors refuse to send Nat’l Guard troops to Mexico border over immigration policy

Massachusetts National Guard soldiers during Annual Training. (DVIDS/Photo by Sgt. Harley Jelis)
June 19, 2018

The governors of four states – Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island – have canceled deployments of National Guard troops to the Mexico border over President Trump’s immigration policy.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said Monday that he will not send the Massachusetts National Guard to the Mexico border, citing the Trump Administration’s “cruel and inhumane” policy of separating immigrant children from their families.

“Governor Baker directed the National Guard not to send any assets or personnel to the Southwest border today because the federal government’s current actions are resulting in the inhumane treatment of children,” Bakers’ communications director, Lizzy Guyton, told WGBH News.

State officials initially said that Massachusetts National Guard troops would leave for the U.S.-Mexico border in late June to assist with security operations.

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A UH-72 Lakota helicopter and military analysts were set to join other National Guard forces at the border.

They were going to “provide aviation reconnaissance to offer an additional tool for observation and tracking of unlawful activity in the region,” the Massachusetts National Guard said.

The Trump Administration has recently drawn criticism for a policy that allows migrant children to be separated from their families after reaching the United States.

Nearly 2,000 immigrant children were separated from their families over a six-week time period between April and May, after a new “zero tolerance” policy.

President Trump in April signed a proclamation that deployed the National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said that the White House was working with governors across the country and that the deployment hopefully begins “immediately.”

Trump had tweeted previously that the U.S. has “very weak” border laws.

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“… [While] those of Mexico and Canada are very strong. Congress must change these Obama era, and other, laws NOW,” Trump tweeted. “The Democrats stand in our way – they want people to pour into our country unchecked… CRIME! We will be taking strong action today.”

Trump said earlier that he was sending the military to guard the border until the wall between the U.S. and Mexico can be built. The move would help prevent illegal crossings, the President said.

“Until we can have a wall and proper security, we are going to be guarding our border with the military. That’s a big step,” Trump had said. “We really haven’t done that before, certainly not very much before.”