Political News

Massachusetts won't deploy National Guard to border over 'cruel' treatment of children

Posted June 18, 2018 1:46 p.m. EDT

— Massachusetts 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.

"I think it's cruel and inhumane, and 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."

Baker, a moderate Republican in a largely Democratic state, was one of several prominent Republicans to come out against the Trump administration's zero-tolerance policy toward immigrants.

In addition, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, signed an executive order Monday limiting use of state resources "to separate children from parents or legal guardians on sole ground of immigration status."

As part of the zero-tolerance policy, anyone who is caught attempting to enter the US illegally is referred for federal prosecution, including those with children. The policy has had the immediate effect of separating children from their parents and placing them into a bureaucratic labyrinth of government acronyms.

Trump defended the policy on Monday amid the increasing backlash, saying "the United States will not be a migrant camp and it will not be a refugee holding facility."

The National Guard has helped along the border since Trump signed a memorandum to deploy members to the US-Mexico border in April as part of what he described as an effort to secure the border. Trump said in the memorandum that "the security of the United States is imperiled by a drastic surge of illegal activity on the southern border."

The deployment came after Trump fumed for days about a caravan of migrants making its way through Mexico to a US port of entry.

Republican governors in southwest border states praised the plan to deploy the National Guard, while some Democratic governors expressed hesitation and resistance to the plan. California Gov. Jerry Brown agreed to send 400 troops

In May, after three and a half weeks on the job, National Guard troops had contributed to 1,600 apprehensions of people crossing the border illegally, a Customs and Border Protection official said. About 775 National Guard troops were working in the border region at the time.