Pa., NJ, Del. governors refuse to aid at U.S.-Mexico border

(AP/WTXF) -- The governors of multiple East Coast states, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, have announced that they will not deploy National Guard resources near the U.S.-Mexico border, a largely symbolic but politically significant rejection of the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" immigration policy that has resulted in children being separated from their families.

The forced separation of migrant children from their parents has fueled criticism across the political spectrum and sparked nationwide protests of President Donald Trump's immigration policies.

"Ever since our founding - and even before - our nation has been a beacon for families seeking freedom and yearning for a better life," Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Tuesday as he signed an executive order prohibiting the use of state resources. "President Trump has turned this promise on its head by doubling down on his inhumane and cruel policy of separating families."

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The Democrat said he wasn't sure whether state resources are being used in support of the policy.

Murphy spokesman Dan Bryan said the order applies to keeping the National Guard from traveling to the border.

Under the administration's current policy, all unlawful crossings are referred for prosecution, a process that moves adults to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service and sends many children to facilities run by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Delaware Gov. John Carney, a Democrat, said he turned down a request he received on Tuesday to send National Guard troops to the southwest border, while the Democratic governors of Virginia and North Carolina said they would recall Guard members and equipment they already had sent to the border.

"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," Carney said in a statement.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf joined the fray of like-minded governors Tuesday night.

He tweeted, "While PA proudly sent troops to Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico for disaster relief and I believe we need to protect our borders from real threats, I oppose state resources being used to further President Trump's policy of separating young children from their parents."

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Governors are not the only ones taking action: Mayors from across the U.S. announced plans to travel to the Texas border on Thursday to protest the "zero tolerance" policy. The mayors will gather at a point of entry near where migrant minors began arriving at a tent-like shelter last week.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors last week unanimously passed a resolution registering its opposition to separating children from their families at the border.