Three state governors have announced that their states will not take part in President Trump’s “zero tolerance” anti-immigration mission that separates children from their parents at the border. Govs. John Hickenlooper (D-Col.), Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) and Charlie Baker (R-Mass.) made it clear that immigrant families matter just as much as any other family.
Hickenlooper on Monday signed an executive order that “forbid[s] state agencies from using state resources for the purpose of separating children from their parents or legal guardians on the sole ground that their families are in violation of federal immigration laws.”
“We recognize the importance of maintaining safety at our international borders, but intentionally separating children from their families is cruel and un-American,” the order states.
“I think it’s fair to say it’s a rebuke,” Hickenlooper said later at a press conference. “But it’s also just saying: ‘It’s not going to happen in our backyard.’ We are very clear that this is not something that is acceptable. It’s hard for me to imagine that this is happening in the United States of America at the scale it is at any scale.”
Hickenlooper added that, to his knowledge, no states resources had been used for the purpose of separating families at the border.
“Christian sacred texts should never be used to justify policies that oppress or harm children and families,” said Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe of the United Methodist Church.
In Massachusetts, Baker’s office announced that his National Guard troops would not be sent to the border as they had originally been set to do. Lizzy Guyton, communications director for Baker, told WGBH News that the governor believes “the federal government’s current actions are resulting in the inhumane treatment of children.”
“Baker, a Republican, had previously pledged a UH-72 Lakota helicopter and two military analysts to the border on June 1 and were expected to be deployed at the end of the month,” Politico reported.
Cuomo similarly said that New York’s National Guard would not participate in border protection operations.
“We will not be complicit in this ongoing human tragedy,” Cuomo wrote on Twitter.
His statement reads, in part:
The administration’s unconscionable treatment of families at our border is a moral outrage and an affront to the values that built this state and this nation.
In the face of this ongoing human tragedy, let me be very clear: New York will not be party to this inhumane treatment of immigrant families. We will not deploy National Guard to the border, and we will not be complicit in a political agenda that governs by fear and division.
Backlash against Trump’s inhumane policy has come from all sides of the political spectrum. The president has perpetuated the falsehood that Democrats were the ones who initiated family separations at the border and that he is simply enforcing a rule that already exists. While immigration control has been a topic for presidents both Democrat and Republican, there was no federal law or policy mandating that families be split up upon detention.
The rumors correctly suggested that “family detention” as a whole came before the Trump administration, but as of August 2015 intact families at the border were rarely separated. Other iterations of the rumor held that the Obama administration separated more children from their parents than the Trump administration, a claim stemming from an inaccurate retelling of the fact that an influx of unaccompanied minors from Latin America crossed the border in from 2014 onward. In those instances, minor children primarily traveled without their parents.
Further, despite no “rule” in place, Trump’s administration has done more damage than any other, Snopes noted: “An increase in child detainees separated from parents stemmed directly from a change in enforcement policy repeatedly announced by Sessions in April and May 2018, under which adults (with or without children) are criminally prosecuted for attempting to enter the United States.”