Rauner mum on deploying Guard at border

While joining in the criticism of Trump's separation policy on immigrants, the governor's position is that he'd still send Illinois troops to defend the border

 Gov. Bruce Rauner sends off National Guard troops to Afghanistan with an Illinois flag in 2016. (Illinois National Guard Public Affairs Office)

Gov. Bruce Rauner sends off National Guard troops to Afghanistan with an Illinois flag in 2016. (Illinois National Guard Public Affairs Office)

By Ted Cox

As controversy rages over the Trump administration's family-separation policy on detained immigrants, Gov. Bruce Rauner has been mum on whether he'd still send Illinois National Guard troops to help enforce the border with Mexico.

In April, after President Trump initially suggested using the National Guard for border security, Rauner indicated he'd most likely honor that request.

"Frankly, the president is the commander-in-chief of our military," Rauner said. "Illinois has not been requested to send troops. If we are requested, I believe we’ll honor that request."

Things have changed, however, with the controversy over detained undocumented immigrants being charged upon trying to enter the United States and separated from their children.

According to Politico, Rauner went so far as to call it "heartbreaking" on Monday, but as usual did not mention Trump by name in addressing his policies, saying only, "We can and should do better as a nation."

Otherwise, however, Rauner has endorsed the Trump administration, recently saying, "I'm very proud of what's been goin' on with the federal government, Congress, and the White House."

Democratic governor candidate J.B. Pritzker has used that quote in an attack ad, but on Tuesday he also went on the offensive against Rauner for tacitly supporting the Trump policy on separating immigrant families.

"Donald Trump is heartlessly ripping apart immigrant families, and Bruce Rauner is silently standing by," Pritzker said in a statement released Tuesday. He went on to call Trump "a racist, bigoted president," adding, "Rauner is helping Trump enforce a policy that goes against the same values our nation was founded on. He’s carrying on in complicit silence while Trump forces families to live in fear."

Rauner's office has said the state has not yet been formally requested to send troops to the border. Such a deployment, of course, would also separate National Guard personnel from their families at home.

Ted Cox