Delaware's governor said he will not deploy National Guard troops to assist with the growing crisis along the United States-Mexico border until President Donald Trump does an about-face on separating immigrants from their children.
Hours later, his counterparts in Pennsylvania and New Jersey followed suit refusing to be in the business of splitting up migrant families.
In a series of tweets Tuesday, Democratic Gov. John Carney said he "can't in good conscience send Delawareans to help" given a Trump administration policy that has torn apart families seeking asylum when attempting crossing the border.
Carney's announcement was followed up by similar sentiments from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.
"While Pennsylvania proudly sent troops to help Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico in the last year to assist with disaster relief and Governor Wolf believes we need to protect our borders from real threats, he opposes state resources being used to further President Trump's policy of separating young children from their parents," Wolf spokesman J.J. Abbott said.
Meanwhile, Murphy preemptively signed an executive order Tuesday afternoon banning state resources from being used to separate families of immigrants.
"Ever since our founding – and even before – our nation has been a beacon for families seeking freedom and yearning for a better life. President Trump has turned this promise on its head by doubling-down on his inhumane and cruel policy of separating families," Murphy said in a statement. “It has no basis in law or Scripture, no matter how many times the President, the Vice President, or anyone who tries to defend this policy tries to spin it. This is a matter of human rights, human dignity, and basic humanity.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, neither state had received a new federal request to dispatch troops to the border.
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The separation policy has drawn outrage from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress and sparked a national uproar about the treatment of undocumented immigrants.
Trump strongly defended the practice, which has been in the works since February 2017, saying the U.S. "will not be a migrant camp." He also inaccurately said Democratic lawmakers were holding up legislation to change the policy. In fact, the Trump administration changed longstanding practices and it remains within the president's power to reverse course.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen also has said, "We will not apologize for the job we do or for the job law enforcement does, for doing the job that the American people expect us to do."
From May 5 to June 9 when the zero tolerance rule was fully-enforced, more than 2,230 families were apprehended at the border, a Customs and Border Protection spokesperson told NBC News. Of those families, 2,342 children were taken from their parents' custody.
Many children were taken to temporary detention facilities, including one inside an old Walmart in South Texas. News outlets have been barred from widely touring these centers and from filming inside of them. But the federal government issued video showing children inside of cages reminiscent of prison cells.
In April, Trump called for National Guard help in securing the nation's southern border. Some bordering states have agreed to help, but support from other states has been anemic.
Carney said his office received a new request on Tuesday to send troops.
Carney is not alone in refusing to assist with security effort because of the separation policy. The governors of Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Connecticut all have done the same. These governors include Democrats and Republicans.
"If President Trump revokes the current inhumane policy of separating children from their parents, Delaware will be the first in line to assist our sister states in securing the border," Carney said.