Va. governor pulls National Guard copter, troops from border over family separation policy

Va. governor pulls National Guard copter, troops from border over family separation policy
© Greg Nash

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) on Tuesday ordered the recall of Virginia National Guard troops from the southern border over President TrumpDonald John TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade MORE’s family separation policy.

Northam ordered the return of a helicopter and four Virginia National Guard soldiers in response to the zero tolerance policy that has resulted in thousands of migrant children being separated from their parents, according to a statement.

Northam said in a statement that Virginia would not support enforcement until Trump ends the policy. 

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“Virginia benefits from the important work of securing our border and we have a responsibility to contribute to that mission,” he said. “However, we also have a responsibility to stand up to policies or actions that run afoul of the values that define us as Americans.”

"When Virginia deployed these resources to the border, we expected that they would play a role in preventing criminals, drug runners and other threats to our security from crossing into the United States — not supporting a policy of arresting families and separating children from their parents."

Northam called the policy “inhumane,” and pledged that Virginia would not send any resources to the border “that could actively or tacitly support it.” 

Northam is the latest in a string of governors to make similar decisions, but the first to pull back resources from an already-active mission. 

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) said that she would not deploy the state’s National Guard to the border if asked, and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) pulled back his state’s deployment, which was expected for the end of the month.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) signed an executive order to bar state resources from being used to carry out the zero tolerance policy.

Lawmakers from both parties have harshly criticized the policy and have called on Trump to end it. Trump and other Cabinet officials have falsely claimed that the policy is the “law,” and urged Congress to take action to “change the laws.” Trump has also repeatedly blamed Democrats for the policy.

Both chambers of Congress have seen bills proposed this week to end the practice.

--Updated at 2:55 p.m.