The current sequence of events surrounding the Trump administration’s harsh and immoral immigration policies has taken a turn, as now governors are taking a stance on the subject and acting upon it. Several governors have stated that they will not send National Guard units to the U.S. border if the separation of migrant children from their parents continues. This follows a declaration by President Trump during April where he requested for said units to help Customs and Border Protection. Up to 4000 troops were set to help in administrative and surveillance-related work in the border with Mexico.
However, after recent events, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stated that he will not support said department, which engages in “inhumane treatment of immigrant families”. He commented that this decision was taken due to a growing amount of disturbing reports regarding wrongful treatment to immigrants.
Other two states that refused to send their units to the border were California and Colorado. The latter’s governor John Hickenlooper has signed an executive order that detains his state from contributing to the separation of immigrant families. The statement read: “The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s policy and practice of separating children from their parents when arriving at the southern border is offensive to our core values as Coloradans and as a country.”
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker also responded to the measures in a similar manner, as he stated that his state could not support said treatment of other human beings. His communications director released a statement where he said: “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.”
Several officials from the Trump administration, such as Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, have argued that these procedures are merely done to follow the law, and that it is the fault of illegal immigrant parents to endanger their children by subjecting them to a situation like entering a country as criminals. They have also worked in framing the measures as something created by Congress, which contradicts previous statements from Sessions, in an attempt to argue that President Trump can’t do much about the problem. Press secretary Sara Sanders responded to Baker’s comments with these arguments, stating during a press briefing:
I have not seen the comments specifically but I would tell him that he should call every member of Congress particularly those in his own state and ask them to fix the law. There’s only one body here that gets to create legislation and that’s Congress, it’s our job to enforce it. We want Congress to fix this and that is what the president has called on them to do that”
This approach has caused for controversy, with many politicians from both parties deeming the mentality as “un-American” and immoral. The comments especially increased as many images and footage of children being held in cages at the border. The administration reportedly reacted to the backlash by attempting to change their interactions with the public and showing concern towards the problem, which has not been put into effect as many officials have continued the previous statements and arguments when interviewed.
Donald Trump has not supported his officials in the project of easing the tensions with the public regarding the topic. He had previously stated that he “hated” the separation policy and blamed Democrats for its existence, saying that they both created it and are the only ones who can change it. Several days later, after seeing that his staff was not able to handle the subject positively with the press, he decided to hold a briefing himself in the White House. During the meeting, it was particularly concerning that he showed no intention of addressing the project of separation directly and was using the opportunity to promote his tough immigration policies and border wall project.