National Emergency Declaration is Unnecessary and Irresponsible

February 15, 2019

WASHINGTON — After months of threats, the longest government shutdown in history, and the passage of a bipartisan compromise on federal funding for homeland security, President Trump declared a national emergency to fund the building of a border wall without congressional approval. The president took this step despite strong bipartisan opposition to declaring a national emergency.

The following statement is from Beth Werlin, executive director of the American Immigration Council:

“With his emergency declaration, Trump has once again sent a loud and clear message that America’s doors are closed to immigrants. The declaration is yet another attempt to circumvent the normal process of law.

“There are fewer people crossing the border now than at any period in decades. At the same time, more people coming to the United States are families and children fleeing serious harm at home. It is legal to seek asylum, and asylum seekers comply with their immigration court obligations. Research has shown that 86 percent of all families released from detention between 2001 and 2016 appeared for all scheduled removal proceedings.

“Today’s national emergency declaration so soon after Congress reached agreement on border security makes clear that the president is trying to create a crisis, not solve one. The most pressing immigration issue we confront at the border is one that the president himself has manufactured by unlawfully turning away asylum seekers and cruelly separating parents from their children. Instead of throwing up obstacles, the administration should be focusing its efforts on ensuring a fair and just process for those seeking protection.”

Our experts are available for comment. Our research on asylum and refugee policy and a current lawsuit challenging Customs and Border Protection's practice of turning away asylum seekers at ports of entry.


For more information, contact:
Maria Frausto at [email protected] or 202-507-7526.

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