Delaware refuses National Guard deployment at U.S. border

DOVER – Gov. John Carney said he elected not to deploy members of the Delaware National Guard to the southern border of the U.S. on Tuesday due to the federal government’s current policies of separating illegal immigrant families who are caught at the border.

“(Tuesday), we received a request to send Delaware National Guard troops to the southwest border,” Gov. Carney said. “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.

“I take my job as Commander-in-Chief of the Delaware National Guard extremely seriously. In the last year, we’ve sent Guardsmen and women to Texas, Hawaii and Puerto Rico to help our fellow citizens cope with natural disasters,” he said, adding that he was proud of the work the soldiers and airmen and women have done in those efforts.

If the current policy of separating families at the borders is changed, he said he will reconsider his position.

“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,” Gov. Carney said. “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.”

Paige Deiner, of Milford, said that she lived on the U.S.-Mexico border and reported on immigration issues in her years as a journalist for The Yuma Sun in Arizona and for The Monitor in McAllen, Texas.

She said she is deeply troubled by the policy of separating children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“I think it’s a moral issue for me,” Ms. Deiner said. “I think that if you look at the research, starting with children in orphanages and children that died for lack of care, and children in foster care, we have some pretty good documentation to say this isn’t a good system.

“I’m confused why we would enact a policy that is so against what research supports. I don’t believe that using children as pawns is an effective way to build a wall.”

She said the policy of separating children from their parents is a new one that should not be tolerated.

“This is a new precedent,” said Ms. Deiner. “We’ve had immigration laws since 1997 looking at how children coming into this country should be treated. This is the first time we’ve separated them from their parents and I’m not sure of the reason behind it.

“It makes me sick. It makes it hard to sleep at night. No child should be taken from their parents. It takes 404 days on average for someone taking asylum to get their first hearing. This is not a good use of resources. We’re hurting these children by taking them away from their parents.”

“You can’t affect change until you look at your own beliefs,” she said. “What do I want my country to stand for? If we’re a country made up of immigrants then why are we taking children from their parents in these circumstances?

“I think people need to have an open and honest conversation about immigration and to examine their own values. I think what we’re seeing right not comes from a lack of looking at specifics.”

Rosalia Velazquez, executive director of La Esparanza Community Center in Georgetown, was also troubled by the policy.

“Like many others, I find the situation on the border to be troublesome and a bit alarming,” Ms. Velazquez said. “We are talking about innocent children who could potentially be irreparably harmed if this situation goes on for any extended period of time. This is not an issue about politics … this is about children.

“There is a saying that a society is judged by how we treat our most vulnerable and right now we are being tested. I can only hope that more rational minds on all sides of this debate realize the magnitude of what is going on and take quick action to resolve this issue. Children should never be exposed to these adult games.”

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