On June 18, the Wisconsin National Guard announced they had deployed troops to the US-Mexico border, in accordance with Governor Scott Walker’s April declaration to support a request by President Trump.
The action comes as nationwide outcry grows against the Trump Administration’s policy of separating children from their parents at the border. Massachusetts Republican Governor Charlie Baker cancelled his decision to send National Guard troops to the border because of Trump’s directive.
The United Nations Human Rights Council recently called the Republican policy “government sanctioned child abuse.” The inhumane strategy creates toxic stress and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) for kids by adding significant trauma to their young lives.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said in April that he supported Trump’s “aggressive actions” to secure the border and would send troops if asked.
“Governor Walker has turned his back on the proven science of childhood brain development, and doubled down on a cruel policy that will create the exact long-term problems in children he has said he knows we must avoid in order to create better lives for children,” said State Representative David Bowen in a statement.
U.S. Representative Mark Pocan from Wisconsin denounced the deployment of two dozen Wisconsin National Guard members to the southern border to support the mission of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.
“Governor Walker’s plan to send Wisconsin National Guard members to the southern border is a misuse of state and federal resources, and only serves to give President Trump air cover for his outrageous and cruel plan to separate immigrant families,” said Pocan. “During my visit to the southern border this weekend, it was clear that additional national guard troops will not alleviate the humanitarian crisis unfolding in shelters. Despite sufficient staffing, immigration officials in Texas seem content with slow-walking procedures and continuing the mistreatment of immigrants at the border.”
Pocan’s statement came a day after he traveled to Texas to review the situation unfolding on the southern border of the U.S. During his trip, Pocan toured the Border Patrol Processing Center, the McAllen-Hidalgo International Bridge, the Brownsville Children’s Shelter, and a detention facility.
“We call on Governor Walker to immediately recall our National Guard troops back to their homes in Wisconsin, and to stop aiding Donald Trump’s cruel war on immigrant families,” said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera.
The community activist groups Voces de la Frontera and the New Sanctuary Movement of Milwaukee held an interfaith rally at on June 21, at the Milwaukee ICE office, in protest of Trump’s efforts to separate immigrant families at the border and in Wisconsin.
“Our governor has decided that the politics of hate and fear take priority over compassion and humanity,” said State Representative JoCasta Zamarripa in a statement.
An example of the policy’s impact in Milwaukee was recently illustrated with Franco Ferreyra, a father of four who qualifies for DACA but who was detained by ICE as part of Trump’s escalated efforts to separate immigrant families throughout the country.
The City of Milwaukee Common Council also released a joint statement, signed by Alderman Jóse G. Pérez, Alderman Ashanti Hamilton, Alderman Michael J. Murphy, Alderman Nicholas Kovac, Alderman Mark Borkowski, Alderman Tony Zielinski, Alderman Khalif J. Rainey, Alderman Robert Bauman, and Alderman Cavalier Johnson saying:
“Right now children are being torn apart from their parents. This is not happening in a war zone or in a far off country. It is happening right here on American soil and being implemented by our own federal government, all in the name of being tough on illegal immigration. These children, nearly 2,000 of them have been ripped away from their parents, housed in strange places and in many instances denied basic human contact. They will go weeks perhaps even months without seeing their families again. The thought of separating families is unspeakable. But unfortunately it is no longer a thought, no longer a threat, it is reality. And we must speak of it and confront it head on for what it is – cruel and unnecessary.”
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Paul Gorman, Matthew Ard, and Lее Μаtz