In a reversal from his earlier position, Republican Governor Charlie Baker said Monday that the Massachusetts National Guard will not be sent to the Mexican border to assist the Trump administration in what Baker called the administration’s “cruel and inhumane” policy separating migrant children from their families.
The change of heart by Baker came after his administration had agreed to deploy a UH-72 Lakota helicopter and two military analysts to the border where they would operate with members of the Arizona and New Mexico National Guards. The State House News Service reported the deployment was to take place before the end of June.
Baker told reporters at the State House on Monday the Massachusetts National Guard, which he leads as the state’s chief executive, won’t be leaving for the Southwest, after all. Baker said he was stopping the deployment —and will not allow other units to deploy to the Mexican border — because the administration is currently separating migrant children from their families when they reach the United States.
“It’s cruel and inhumane, and I told the National Guard to hold steady and not go down to the border — period,’’ Baker said. “So we won’t be supporting that initiative unless they change their policy.”
Baker said he recognized the importance of the control over the nation’s borders, but said the current approach is not supportable.
“Border security is important. No one disputes that. But separating kids from their families is not,’’ Baker said. “They should change their policy. I’m hopeful with the voices that are coming out at this point and making that case that they’ll consider alternatives to deal with border security.”