President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency for the sole purpose of diverting funds to build his promised border wall with Mexico is a plain abuse of power and contrary to the National Emergencies Act's purpose and intent. This law was not enacted to allow a president to make unilateral, multi-billion-dollar budget changes outside the Congressional appropriations process without regard for the will of the People, the needs of the nation, or the facts.
Congress represents the people and the states. The President’s action today circumvents that representation and ignores serious concerns, from all quarters, about the purpose of his “security wall,” its projected ineffectiveness, and its enormous price tag. This procedural end-around demeans the Constitutional separation of powers and our shared values as Americans of all political affiliations and leanings. Both parties should admonish this abuse of the Executive emergency powers.
In the four decades since the National Emergencies Act took effect, it has been applied when a biological, political, or chemical organism threatens to compromise the health of the republic, its citizens, or both. Mr. Trump’s characterization of U.S. border security as a national emergency is inapposite.
Any fair assessment of the facts at the border make clear that there is no emergency of the kind Mr. Trump purports to declare -- and solve -- today. Rather, he seeks to fulfill a 2016 campaign pledge. The real crisis at the border is one this administration has created by separating children from their parents, jailing families, and increasing restrictions on asylum seekers. The families, women, and children crossing our southern border are not our enemies, nor are they a threat to the United States or its citizens. A wall would exacerbate, not solve, these issues.
The Legislative Branch has the ability and obligation to serve as a check and balance on the Executive. We urge Members of Congress to unite under the National Emergencies Act and pass a joint resolution to terminate this faux-emergency authorization. We also urge Congress to explore and pursue all other available legislative and legal options, including litigation. Similarly, we urge the States most affected by this declaration to explore legal remedies through the courts.
Lawyer Moms of America and our supporters will stand with those elected officials and appointees who hold fast to the principle that the branches of government must balance and check one another if the nation is to flourish.