Gov. Carney refuses request for Del. National Guard troops at Mexican border

Gov. John Carney said he won't send Delaware National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexican border until the Trump administration changes its policy of separating children from parents arrested at the border for illegal immigration or held while awaiting a decision on their request for asylum. (Bigstockphoto.com)

Gov. John Carney said he won't send Delaware National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexican border until the Trump administration changes its policy of separating children from parents arrested at the border for illegal immigration or held while awaiting a decision on their request for asylum. (Bigstockphoto.com)

Gov. John Carney refused a request Tuesday to send Delaware National Guard troops to the border with Mexico, citing the Trump’s administration’s policy of separating children from families caught entering the U.S. illegally.

“Today, we received a request to send Delaware National Guard troops to the Southwest border,” Carney said in a written statement issued by his press office. “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.”

The request came from the National Guard Bureau, which is part of the federal government, Carney spokesman Jonathan Starkey said.

Carney was not immediately available for an interview.  In his statement, the governor noted that since taking office in January 2017, he has “sent Guardsmen and women to Texas, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico to help our fellow citizens cope with natural disasters. We’ve sent Delaware Guardsmen and women overseas to keep us safe. I’m extremely proud of Delaware’s soldiers and airmen and women.”

But the current policy to place the children of detained parents in separate facilities, where they are housed in enclosures with metal fencing, led Carney to reject this latest request to use the military forces under his command. The policy has been opposed by members of Congress from both parties.

“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,” Carney’s statement said.

“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,” he said. “Congress and the president need to step up and fix the mess that our immigration system has become.”

In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy issued an executive order that prohibits any state resources from being used to assist the Trump administration’s policy of separating the families of immigrants.

“Ever since our founding – and even before – our nation has been a beacon for families seeking freedom and yearning for a better life. President Trump has turned this promise on its head by doubling-down on his inhumane and cruel policy of separating families,” Murphy said.

The governors of Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Virginia and North Carolina have also refused to send National Guard troops for the same reasons as Carney.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.