Things That Matter

President Trump Didn’t Get His Border Wall Funding So He Is Now Declaring A National Emergency

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

After months of negotiations with Congress, President Trump took the unprecedented step of declaring a national emergency to get funds for a border wall along the U.S-Mexico border. The news came on Friday morning after Congress passed a spending bill to avoid another government shutdown. The Senate voted 83-16 to pass the spending deal, which would provide a little over $1 billion for border security but no money for Trump’s border wall. It was soon after that the White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Thursday that the President would “take other executive action — including a national emergency — to ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border.”

Trump isn’t the first president to call for a national emergency but he’s the first to declare one for a crisis that technically is not a crisis at all.

After President Trump’s original request for $5.7 billion wasn’t part of the spending bill approved by Congress, he is now taking things into his own hands. The president suggested for weeks that he would declare a national emergency if Congress wouldn’t approve more funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. He says a wall is necessary to counter what he has called a “humanitarian crisis” at the border.

He will now be facing mounting legal opposition now that he has announced $8 billion moved in the budget to fund his border wall. Soon after news broke of the presidents plans, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi quickly responded to the belief that there is a crisis happening at the border.

“First of all, it’s not a national emergency; it is a humanitarian challenge to us,” Pelosi said. “The president is making an end run around Congress.”

Pelosi is correct here. Illegal border crossings have been dropping every year since 2006 and the argument that drugs are being smuggled across the border is also incorrect, most drugs are seized at ports of entry.

By declaring a national emergency, Trump plans to use funding from various parts of the federal government for his wall, most notably the Department of Defense.

By declaring a national emergency, President Trump is able to reach into certain funds provided under statutes previously passed by Congress. This essentially means that he has the authority to pull from military construction funds and civil works projects, like infrastructure repair projects. The president has to notify Congress of where he decides to pull money from but they cannot stop him due to the call of a national emergency.

While legal challenges can temporarily stop him, the chances of succeeding are slim because the definition of a national emergency is vague in wording. The president will likely face more roadblocks with landowners whose property is along the border. They will surely take legal action if they are forced to have a border wall built on their property.

Polls show that a majority of Americans are against Trump’s decision to delcare a national emergency.

Americans have overwhelming denied the need for a wall along the southern border. Even more, Americans are against Trump taking money from military and infrastructure budgets to build his wall, which is what Trump is doing with his national emergency delcaration.

What does this all mean going forward?

The president is now facing opposition not only from Democrats but from even some Republicans. The call for national emergency sets precedent moving forward that is a slippery slope when it comes to using presidential authority. It also essentially undermines the purpose and role of Congress.

What happens in the courts next is the big question at hand. A president calling for a national emergency when there technically isn’t one, just to build a large barrier — has yet to be tested in the courts. If the case is to reach all the way to the Supreme Court, which currently favors in the conservative side, the president could likely win. This could take months or even years to get settled. If the president is trying to get a quick fix for his border wall, he’s going to have to wait.


READ: President Trump And Beto O’Rourke Both Speak In The Same City, On The Same Night, Here’s What Happened

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Just When You Thought It Couldn’t Get Worse: 3-Year-Old Was Told To Pick Which Parent To Be Separated From

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Just When You Thought It Couldn’t Get Worse: 3-Year-Old Was Told To Pick Which Parent To Be Separated From

Mamamia Author

This year has seen so much of what we would have never even imagined just a little over four years ago. Thanks to the strict and cruel policies under our current presidential administration, we’ve seen families separated from their underaged children at border stops, kids held in cages and women sexually assaulted and harassed by officers of the United States government. Xenophobia and racism are on the extreme uptick and just when you think we couldn’t stoop any lower as a country, a new report sets a new bar.

Sadly, the latest low involves a child that is just 3-years-old.

Parents from Honduras have recently accused an agent at a Border Patrol holding facility of asking their 3-year-old daughter to decide which one would be deported.

In a recent interview with NPR, a woman by the name of Tania said that she and her husband, who share three children together, experienced the bizarre abuse of their child in a holding facility in El Paso Texas. While detained, an agent told the family, which is from Honduras, that one of the parents would be sent to Mexico while the other would be kept in the United States with their three children. The two parents also have a 9-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old son.

“The agent asked her who she wanted to go with, mom or dad,” Tania told NPR through an interpreter. “And the girl, because she is more attached to me, she said mom. But when they started to take [my husband] away, the girl started to cry. The officer said, ‘You said [you want to go] with mom.'”

Tania says that she and her husband spent last week attempting to make deals with Border Patrol so that their family would not be separated.

Tania and her husband, Joseph, were working with a doctor who examined the 3-year-old, named Sofi, who had been given the burden of the harsh decision. The parents say that they pleaded with agents to not separate the family.

According to NPR Tania and her family came to the U.S. after they witnessed the murder of her mother. The news outlet reported last week that the family was sent back to Juárez, Mexico after crossing into El Paso in April and became part of the Trump administration program called Migrant Protection Protocols, which is also known as “remain in Mexico” and requires Central American migrants to wait in northern Mexico cities while their immigration cases are sorted out by the courts. More often than not, these cities are among the most dangerous in the country.

On top of everything, Sofi has an extreme heart condition.

According to NPR, Linda Rivas, the family’s lawyer and an employee of  Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center presented evidence from a Mexican health clinic that Sofi had suffered a heart attack. Stunned by the revelation Immigration Judge Nathan Herbert said that he didn’t have the authority to remove the family from MPP. However, he did ask the Department of Homeland Security lawyer to consider of Rivas’ evidence.

According to NPR, Sofi was examined by a doctor last week. The doctor told Border Patrol agents that she had had a serious heart condition and needed to stay in the country.

Tania told NPR that the agents “spoke to me at around 3 or 3:30 p.m., and they told me: ‘Sign here, because we are giving you and your children permission.’ And I said, ‘I came with the children’s father,’ and he said, ‘Not him. Only you and your children.’ And the doctor said it’s important for the family to stay [together], and even the doctor said ‘They entered as a family and they have to leave as a family.'”

According to the report, the agent had already made up their mind about the separation and it was then that Sofi was asked which parent she wanted to go with. According to Tania, the doctor who examined Sofi told her not to allow the agent to ask the little girl to make the decision, “because they don’t have the right to ask a minor.”

Eventually, the doctor was able to make a case for the family to be kept together to another agent. Fortunately, the family was released last Friday, together, to an El Paso migrant shelter.

Heated Protesters At A Colorado ICE Facility Replace The American Flag With The Mexican Flag In A Show Of Defiance

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Heated Protesters At A Colorado ICE Facility Replace The American Flag With The Mexican Flag In A Show Of Defiance

The conflict at America’s southern border proves to be more and more horrific as containment continues. Now, with ICE raids having started over the weekend, more activists are getting in the mix to protest the existence of these facilities and their abusive treatment of migrants. On Friday, protesters camped outside of ICE detention centers around the nation, ready for rallies to denounce further internment of migrants from Central America and other foreign nations.

One of these protests is receiving national attention because of how demonstrators handled the facility’s United States flag.

Protesters at the Aurora, Colorado facility removed the American flag on display outside the building and replaced it with the flag of Mexico.

Twitter / @RealSaavedra

American flags are always flown outside of government buildings. A “Blue Lives Matter” flag was also removed and replaced. The flag was hoisted upside down on its pole with the words “Abolish ICE” spray painted upon it.

The DENVER POST reported that the demonstration was just one part of a nationwide event called Lights for Liberty: A Vigil to End Human Concentration Camps. The events were aimed at protesting the scheduled onslaught of ICE raids that are planned for the coming weeks. The event’s goal was also to expose the human rights violations being committed against the detained migrants.

The altered flags did not fly for long. Armed guards quickly removed the Mexican and defaced “Blue Lives Matter” flags and replaced them with another US flag and the Colorado state flag.

Still, the brief act of defiance caught Twitter’s attention and nobody was happy about it.

Twitter / @charliekirk11

Conservatives and Republicans were quick to see this as an act of treason. This Twitter user claimed that the Democratic goal for the next election year was to “Make America Mexico.” This isn’t the point that protesters were trying to make but it is one that was assumed by  Conservative Twitter. Many far-right Twitter accounts have since referred to this act as proof of an “invasion” as opposed to immigration.

This account relied on a racist mantra in response to the Mexican flag swap.

Twitter / @TrumpStudents

Often times when citizens criticize the United States, conservatives respond with the old adage “If you don’t like it here, leave.” That’s how this Trump Student Twitter handle responded. However, this is our country too and, instead of abandoning it, protesters and activists want to make it more inclusive and more harmonious. Besides, protesting against tyranny is just about as American a tradition can get.

Still, there were others disappointed by this swap. Central American and Latinx Twitter were quick to point out the hypocrisy.

Twitter / @_danalvarenga

Many pointed out that the Mexican government is just as responsible for the death, brutality, and confinement of Central American migrants as the United States is. Salvadoran journalist, Daniel Alvarenga, tweeted his disapproval of the Mexican flag swap by pointing out that this act is not the solidarity that activists should be showing towards migrant communities. The Mexican flag, he points out, is also a symbol of death to many Central American people.

This Twitter user glibly suggested that the presence of the Mexican flag meant that activists were acknowledging Mexico’s role in the deaths of thousands of Central Americans.

Twitter /@EarlsxLips

This fact is often dismissed but migrants traveling through Mexico to seek asylum in the US are often treated despicably by Mexican officials. They are denied shelter, resources and are quickly hastened to the Mexican-American border. They are not given any sort or comfort or safety in Mexico. Central America migrants also face discrimination and hatred from Mexican nationals — making their trip even more difficult.

Another Twitter user observed that people from the Latinidad are often lumped together under one incorrect classification.

Twitter / @TheHoesherJew

This tweet points out that not all Latinx folk are Mexican. Flying the Mexican flag erases the fact that most people in these southern border facilities are not from Mexico. It perpetuates a bigoted assumption and is probably not the message activists wanted to send.

The takeaway? The suffering of our Central American familia needs to be acknowledged instead of capitalized upon for a photo op with a flag of their oppressors. The United States government isn’t the only one to harm these migrants and we should remember that going forward as we try to ally and advocate with the migrant community.

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