States use National Guard troops to send symbolic message of opposition to "zero tolerance" policy
By Jennifer G. Hickey | June 22, 2018
Seeking to gain politically from the controversy over the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, largely open-border governors announced their intent to either withhold or reverse National Guard deployments to the border. Surprisingly, Gov. Jerry Brown (D-Calif.) has not recalled or altered plans to send troops to the border.
His spokesman told The Palm Springs Desert Sun that Brown would continue to review the matter. He then referred to Brown’s initial statement agreeing to send troops to the border to serve in a support role.
“This will not be a mission to build a new wall. It will not be a mission to round up women and children or detain people escaping violence and seeking a better life. And the California National Guard will not be enforcing federal immigration laws,” stated Brown.
Of course, National Guard troops are authorized to provide support on the border, but do not as a matter of policy participate in making arrests or searching suspects. Brown’s decision, however, was the exception as several other governors put symbolic political gestures ahead of the troops.
Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Va.) issued a misleading statement insinuating that troops would be “supporting a policy of arresting families and separating children from their parents.”
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican in a predominantly-Democratic state, ordered the four National Guard members home from New Mexico, while North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, made a similar move with the three soldiers working on the border.
Governors from Colorado, Delaware, New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Oregon stated they would not send troops. Louisiana and Maine declined to put political interests above national security.
Gov. Doug Ducey (R-Ariz.) and Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) both publicly criticized the administration, but declined to alter plans to deploy National Guard troops to the border.
“There are three members of the National Guard that have been ordered by the U.S. Department of Defense to the United States’ southern border. Governor Scott will not play politics with the National Guard,” said Gov. Scott’s spokesman.