Gov. Edwards: Louisiana guardsmen to remain at border, but play ‘no role’ in separating families

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Gov. John Bel Edwards will not pull Louisiana guardsmen from the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas like some other states have done in response to the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy of separating immigrant children from their families.

But the Democratic governor called the policy “ill-conceived” and assured that the three-person Louisiana National Guard team and one helicopter provided by the state play “no role, direct or indirect,” in separating families.

Governor John Bel Edwards speaking at Mercedes-Benz Superdome

“I, like many people, am deeply disturbed by the unnecessary and abhorrent policy of separating children from their families,” Edwards said in a prepared statement. “It is an unconscionable practice that is inconsistent with our fundamental values as Americans. I urge Congress and the President to act quickly to end this crisis.”

President Trump signaled on Wednesday that he would “sign something” to help keep families together, but it’s unclear what the executive action will say. Trump’s remarks are in response to outcry over the “zero-tolerance” policy that has separated more than 2,000 children from their families at the border since May.

“I’ll be signing something in a little while that’s going to do that,” Trump said. “I’ll be doing something that’s somewhat preemptive and ultimately will be matched by legislation I’m sure.”

According to the governor’s office, Louisiana approved a request from the federal government in May to provide aerial support in Texas. The crew provides helps to monitor drug activity,  support anti-terrorism efforts, and provide additional security to custom and border control agents on the ground.

“This mission is identical to those routinely performed upon request by the Louisiana National Guard since 2010,” Edwards said. “In keeping with our longstanding practice of providing assistance to a neighboring state, this support team will remain in place until mid-July.”

Other governors have canceled their National Guard deployments to the border because of the new policy, or have decided not to send them at all.

Here’s a look at what some state officials say they plan to do:

Pulling back troops


Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, recalled four soldiers and one helicopter, saying the state would be “ready to return and contribute to the real work of keeping our nation safe” when the enforcement of the zero-tolerance policy ends.

“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 said in a statement.


Four crew members and one helicopter were ordered to immediately leave New Mexico and no more resources will be deployed to the region at the moment, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said.

“Washington has failed again & again to deliver needed immigration reform – Congress and the administration must step up and work together to fix our broken system. Immigration enforcement efforts should focus on criminals, not separating innocent children from their families,” tweeted Logan, a Republican.

North Carolina

Gov. Roy Cooper has ordered that three soldiers working in the border region return to North Carolina, CNN affiliate WTVD reported.

“The cruel policy of tearing children away from their parents requires a strong response,” Cooper, a Democrat, said in a statement.

Won’t be sending troops


Gov. John Hickenlooper signed an executive order Monday limiting the use of state resources “to separate children from parents or legal guardians on sole ground of immigration status.”

Hickenlooper, a Democrat, said he recognizes the importance of “maintaining safety at our international borders” but intentionally separating families is “cruel and un-American,” he wrote.

The governor said it’s “deeply troubling” that the US government “would participate in such inhumane actions.”


Gov. John Carney, also a Democrat, refused to send his state’s soldiers to the southwest border when he was asked to on Tuesday.

“Under normal circumstances, we wouldn’t hesitate to answer the call. But given what we know about the policies currently in effect at the border, I can’t in good conscience send Delawareans to help with that mission,” he said in a statement.

“If President Trump revokes the current inhumane policy of separating children from their parents, Delaware will be first in line to assist our sister states in securing the border,” he added. “I served in Congress, and I watched for six years as that body failed to pass a comprehensive immigration policy that would secure our borders in a way that upholds the values of this great country. Congress and the President need to step up and fix the mess that our immigration system has become.”


Gov. Charlie Baker directed the state National Guard not to send any assets or personnel to the US-Mexico border because of the Trump administration’s “inhumane treatment” of children, communications director Lizzy Guyton said in a statement.

Baker, a moderate Republican in a largely Democratic state, said the practice is “cruel and inhumane.”

“We told the National Guard to hold steady and to not go down to the border, period,” Baker told CNN affiliate WHDH. “We won’t be supporting that initiative unless they change the policy.”

•New Hampshire

In a statement, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu said Tuesday that he will not send his state’s troops to the border, CNN affiliate WMUR reported.

He also noted that he has not been contacted by federal authorities.

•New York

New York state also will not deploy the National Guard to the border, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday, citing the treatment of families at the border as 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,” Cuomo, a Democrat, added in a statement. “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.”

•Rhode Island

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo has not been asked yet but she has announced that she would not be sending troops to the border amid the Trump’s administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, which she described as “immoral, unjust and un-American.”

“Children should be with their families, not trapped in cages, sobbing and calling out for their parents. The Administration’s immigration policy goes against everything we value as Rhode Islanders, as Americans and as decent people,” she said in a statement.

“The President alone can end family separation. I’m standing with all good-hearted people in our nation and calling on President Trump to end this inhumane policy.”


Gov. Kate Brown had said that if President Trump asks her to dispatch members of her state’s National Guard to the US southern border, she’ll “say no.”

In a set of tweets in April, Brown, a Democrat, said she was “deeply troubled” by Trump’s plan to send members of the US military to the border and implied that the President is doing so as a political distraction.


Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.