The governor of Massachusetts, a Republican no less, has now cancelled the deployment of National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border in response to President Trump’s policy of separating children from their parents at the border. This decision by Governor Charlie Baker also comes after reports that National Guard troops already deployed at the border are being used primarily for only menial tasks, like shoveling horse manure and cutting back vegetation, in what has been described, according to The Hill, as a “colossal waste of resources” by the president of the Border Patrol’s union.
Governor Baker had pledged to send National Guard troops to the border later this month, but his increasing unease with Trump’s inhumane treatment of immigrant children has caused him now to suspend that deployment indefinitely. According to The Hill:
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) on Monday reportedly canceled the deployment of his state’s National Guard troops to the border in protest of President Trump‘s “zero-tolerance” policy that separates families. “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,” Baker’s communications director, Lizzy Guyton, said in a statement, according to WGBH. The announcement comes after state officials said in early June that Massachusetts National Guard troops would head to the U.S.- Mexico border to assist with security operations following Trump’s call for deployments. They were expected to arrive at the end of the month. But, Baker, who told Boston Public Radio in May that he had a “huge problem” with the Trump administration’s separation policy, suspended that deployment on Monday.
President Trump invoked a statute called “Title 32” in signing a proclamation calling for states to contribute National Guard troops and assets to the border to augment Border Patrol efforts. “Title 32”, according to WGBH Boston, allows governors discretion in whether or not they comply with the request. It is that discretion which Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker now used to cancel deployment of troops and assets from his state. Other governors, including Oregon Governor Kate Brown, have said from the get-go of Trump’s April proclamation that they would not agree to send troops, a position allowed under “Title 32”. If, however, President Trump had made his proclamation under “Title 10” instead, governors would have had no discretion in sending troops – the federal government would have taken complete control of deployment, with governors having no say. Thankfully, that was not the statute used in Trump’s proclamation, so governors do have discretion to refuse to send, cancel sending, or withdraw their state’s National Guard troops as they see fit.
The Republican-majority Congress has so far not held President Trump accountable for this outrageous separation policy, and Republican lawmakers have largely been unwilling to speak out publicly against the policy or against Trump’s lies related to the policy, including that it is the fault of Democrats (false) and that it is required by law (false). It is a policy for which President Trump, not the law and not the Democrats, is responsible. Congress has so far not dealt out consequences to Trump over this, but Massachusetts Governor Baker has, within the limits of his power, by this cancellation of National Guard deployment from his state to the border.