Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced Tuesday his plans to recall four state National Guard soldiers and one helicopter from the southwest Mexican border, striking back against President Donald Trump’s zero tolerance policy that has separated thousands of migrant children from parents trying to illegally enter the U.S.
Northam joins Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who on Tuesday said his state also would not deploy National Guard troops until the Trump administration rescinds its policy of separating families at the border.
“We are ready to return and contribute to the real work of keeping our nation safe,” Northam said in a statement. “But as long as the Trump administration continues to enforce this inhumane policy, Virginia will not devote any resource to border-enforcement actions that could actively or tacitly support it.”
The Trump White House had inherited the policy from previous administrations, which had rarely enforced the rule. Adults caught crossing the border with children were usually processed and released into the U.S., but the Trump administration has insisted upon prosecuting them.
Violators are now being jailed and their children subsequently taken to Health Department-run facilities.