Fifty-eight former national security officials signed onto a statement that publicly rebukes President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration for the U.S.-Mexico border.
“We are aware of no emergency that remotely justifies such a step,” read a portion of the statement, released Monday, from both Democratic and Republican officials who’ve worked in the national security realm. “[U]nder no plausible assessment of the evidence is there a national emergency today that entitles the President to tap into funds appropriated for other purposes to build a wall at the southern border.”
While the letter was technically bipartisan, many of the top-tier names hailed from Democratic administrations, such as former Secretary of State John Kerry, former CIA Director John Brennan and former White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice. Former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel was one of the Republican signers of the letter, but he also served as secretary of defense under the Obama administration.
Included in the 13-page statement is the authors’ reasoning for why they believe the president is wrong in declaring a crisis at the U.S. southern border. The letter, for example, points out illegal border crossings are at near 40-year lows, according to data compiled by Customs and Border Protection.
The authors say no terrorist or national security threat is present in the area, a border wall would not accomplish much in reducing human and drug trafficking, and they warn an emergency order will only serve to “exacerbate” humanitarian concerns already present in the area. (RELATED: 30-Foot Border Wall Begins Construction In California)
“Should a genuine foreign crisis erupt, this lack of credibility will materially weaken this administration’s ability to marshal allies to support the United States, and will embolden adversaries to oppose us,” the letter continues.
The public condemnation is meant to be more than just a symbolic gesture. The authors hope the letter will be utilized in any lawsuit that challenges the president’s emergency declaration — of which there are many.
After signing an appropriations bill that provides $1.375 billion for border wall construction, Trump took the controversial step of declaring a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border in an attempt to allocate a total of $8 billion for his long-sought campaign promise.
At the time, Trump predicted he would be sued and the case would be taken to the Supreme Court. So far, that prediction appears to be coming true. A coalition of 16 states, lead by California, have sued over the president’s move. The lawsuit was filed in the Federal District Court in San Francisco, which appeals to the historically left-leaning 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
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