RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says he’s recalling members of the state’s National Guard from the U.S.-Mexico border because he disagrees with a federal policy of separating immigrant children from their families.
Northam said he had ordered four crewmembers and a helicopter to return to Virginia from Arizona. The crew was assisting the Arizona National Guard in surveillance operations on the border as part of a 90-day mission.
Northam issued a statement Tuesday that said in part:
Virginia benefits from the important work of securing our border and we have a responsibility to contribute to that mission. However, we also have a responsibility to stand up to policies or actions that run afoul of the values that define us as Americans. Today I spoke with the Adjutant General of the Virginia National Guard and ordered him to withdraw four soldiers and one helicopter from Arizona until the federal government ends its enforcement of a zero-tolerance policy that separates children from their parents.
The new “zero tolerance” policy from the Trump administration has led to a spike in children being separated from their parents at the border as they seek entry.
More than 2,300 minors were separated from their children at the border from May 5 through June 9, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
The Associated Press reports President Donald Trump says he has two options on immigration: Separating migrant children from their parents at the border or “open borders.”
Trump says he’s requesting a “third option” from Congress that will allow officials to detain children and parents together as a family unit.
North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan also announced Tuesday that they’re recalling Natural Guard members stationed at the border.
Governors from Delaware, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut also announced this week they’ll withhold or recall National Guard troops from the border.