Washington, D.C.—Today, Ana Marie Argilagos, President and CEO of Hispanics in Philanthropy, issued the following statement on President Trump’s declaration of state emergency to build a wall on the southern border with Mexico:
“President Trump has declared a state of emergency to provide funding for a border wall despite the fact that Congress included $1.375 billion for additional barriers at our southern border.
“The current budget deal, voted on by Congress, and signed by the president, provides funds for 55 miles of new border fencing but also included pay increases for federal workers impacted by the longest lasting government shutdown in our history. The proposal also included additional funds for domestic programs focused on workers and their families, while protecting federal workers from another president-initiated government shutdown.
“Our community believes firmly that there is no legitimate basis for the declaration of a national emergency at our southern border, and absolutely no justification for reallocating funds from federal agencies — funds generated by taxpayers — to build a wall that the majority of Americans do not want. Money intended to protect Americans should not be used for the building of a divisive wall.
According to the current Administration’s own report from the Department of Homeland Security, last year our country saw the “lowest level of illegal cross-border migration on record.” Customs and Border Patrol apprehensions at the US-Mexico border in 2017 were the lowest in 45 years.
“Declaring a national emergency for a manufactured crisis delegitimizes the National Emergencies Act of 1976 and undermines our American system of checks and balances inherent in our three-branch system of government.
This decision will impact the civil liberties and economies of our own communities in places like San Diego and El Paso who depend on transnational commerce. But it will also deeply impact immigrant communities as they will be further targeted for unfair treatment and scrutiny. This dangerous declaration will continue to separate families, lead to racial profiling of immigrants, and will have a financial impact on our local and national economy.
Our country needs to be brought together. Let’s build understanding, not walls that further divide us as a people.”