COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Protesters not only rallied against the wall, but they also highlighted other issues like climate change, reproductive rights and gun reform.
"There's no crisis at the border,” said Move On volunteer Drew Hudson. “Donald Trump's own agencies say they're fewer immigrants coming in illegally than there were a year ago. So this is not a real emergency, this is not a crisis that needs urgent national action, and it certainly doesn't justify the president usurping powers to appropriate money from Congress."
The president has repeatedly insisted that the situation at the southern border is a “humanitarian crisis,” calling upon lawmakers to allocate $5.7 billion for new construction of the wall. A spending bill passed last week by Congress and signed by the president appropriates just $1.7 billion. That’s when the president decided to declare a national emergency to unlock more funding, citing the National Emergencies Act of 1976, which grants the president the power to declare a national emergency when he considers it appropriate.
In his proclamation, the president writes in part, “The southern border is a major entry point for criminals, gang members, and illicit narcotics. The problem of large-scale unlawful migration through the southern border is long-standing, and despite the executive branch’s exercise of existing statutory authorities, the situation has worsened in certain respects in recent years.”
The president is citing a section of the U.S. Code that states, “In the event of a declaration of war or the declaration by the President of a national emergency in accordance with the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) that requires use of the armed forces, the Secretary of Defense, without regard to any other provision of law, may undertake military construction projects, and may authorize the Secretaries of the military departments to undertake military construction projects, not otherwise authorized by law that are necessary to support such use of the armed forces.”
Here’s where he’s proposing those funds come from:
• $1.375 billion from the Homeland Security appropriations bill
• $600 million from the Treasury Department's drug forfeiture fund
• $2.5 billion from the Department of Defense's drug interdiction program
• $3.6 billion from the Department of Defense’s military construction account
At the end of the day, protesters told reporters it just isn’t the way to go about the process – and is an overreach of executive privilege. Hudson took aim at one of South Carolina’s legislators in the nation’s capital.
“There should be a bill in Congress,” Hudson said. “It should be bipartisan, Lindsey Graham should be a part of it, instead of out cheerleading for this unilateral power grab that’s all about moving money around to something Donald Trump wants which nobody else wants. Even Congress doesn’t want it. Mitch McConnell didn’t approve a bill to give him 5 billion dollars in border wall funding because he knows it’s not a good idea and that’s not a solution.”
The president calls this an issue that threatens our core national security interests, while protestors said he’s just using this as a way to get what he wants, when he can’t get it any other way.