HIAS Statement on President's National Emergency Declaration
Feb 15, 2019
SILVER SPRING, MD -- Today, President Trump signed a bill to fund the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for the remainder of the 2019 fiscal year but immediately afterward, he declared a national emergency in an effort to secure funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
In response, Melanie Nezer, HIAS’ Senior Vice President of Public Affairs said, “This bill includes funding for additional physical barriers at the border and more immigration detention beds, both of which will make it harder for people to seek asylum.”
“With the $8 billion the President wants to spend on a wall, our government could hire judges and fund lawyers to eliminate the asylum backlog and create a humane, efficient asylum process. With $8 billion, our country could provide an enormous amount of development aid to the Central American countries that asylum seekers are fleeing. There is no emergency at our southern border, and spending $8 billion on a wall will do nothing to make this country safer. It is now Congress’ responsibility to use its power to halt this dangerous decision by the President, which ignores and bypasses the constitutional authority of democratically elected representatives.”