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Legislature Opposes President Trump’s Declaration of a National Emergency

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Legislature Opposes President Trump’s Declaration of a National Emergency

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Tompkins County Legislature passed a resolution condemning President Trump’s declaration of a natural emergency and urging passage of a joint resolution to revoke it.  The vote came along party lines, 9-3, with Republicans Mike Sigler, Glenn Morey, and Dave McKenna voting no.  (Legislators Leslyn McBean-Clairborne and Amanda Champion were excused.) The resolution, advanced by Legislator Deborah Dawson, through a multitude of factual and technical points, contests the President’s declaration of a “state of emergency” pursuant to section 201 of the National Emergencies Act, for the stated purpose of addressing a “border security and humanitarian crisis that threatens core national security interests.” 

The resolution, in part, maintains that the President’s televised statement demonstrates that “he declared a national emergency in order to build his wall quickly, using funds that Congress would not appropriate for the purpose of immediate wall construction,” and that “at the very least, the President’s willingness to use this power to declare a national emergency in order to bypass Congress’s Constitutional power to appropriate funds poses a grave threat to the separation of powers created by the United States Constitution.”

Legislator Dawson said she does not see the resolution as taking a political position on immigration, but that any such declaration must be factually supported, which she said this is not.

“How can it not be a political resolution?” asked Legislator Sigler.  “I’m not saying that everybody crossing the southern border is looking to do the U.S. harm…(but) it’s a small percent of a big number.”  Those entering the country should come through some port of entry and be recorded…and support the nation, he said. “We are setting these folks up who enter the country illegally and turning them into indentured servants”  through threat of deportation.  Sigler said his constituents elected him to address local issues to make this community a better place to live, and that is what he intends to do.

The resolution “condemns the Proclamation declaring a state of emergency requiring the use of armed forces to build a wall on our southern border as an overreach and abuse of executive power,”  and urges. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and Congressman Tom Reed to support a joint resolution of termination to end the President’s declaration of emergency status.