Governor Ralph Northam says Virginia’s National Guard won’t be used to support the current federal immigration crackdown.
Tuesday afternoon, Northam ordered a Virginia National Guard helicopter and its four crewmembers back from Arizona. The soldiers had been sent there earlier this month to help monitor the border.
Here is Northam's complete statement:
Governor Ralph Northam today issued the following statement after he ordered the recall of four Virginia National Guard Soldiers and one helicopter from the U.S. Southwest border in response to the federal government’s enforcement of a “zero-tolerance” policy that separates immigrant children from their families.
“Virginia benefits from the important work of securing our border and we have a responsibility to contribute to that mission. However, we also have a responsibility to stand up to policies or actions that run afoul of the values that define us as Americans. Today I spoke with the Adjutant General of the Virginia National Guard and ordered him to withdraw four soldiers and one helicopter from Arizona until the federal government ends its enforcement of a zero-tolerance policy that separates children from their parents.
“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.
“Let me be clear—we are ready to return and contribute to the real work of keeping our nation safe. But as long as the Trump administration continues to enforce this inhumane policy, Virginia will not devote any resource to border enforcement actions that could actively or tacitly support it. I urge President Trump and leaders in Washington to turn away from this zero-tolerance policy and come to the table on the real immigration reform this nation needs.”