NM delegation opposes Trump’s national emergency

March 2, 2019
In The News

President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration to address security issues along the Mexican border has been called “unconstitutional,” “an abuse of power” and a “political ploy” by members of the New Mexico congressional delegation. And most members don’t believe there is a national emergency at all. New Mexico’s three U.S. House members – Assistant Speaker of the House Ben Ray Luján, and Reps. Deb Haaland and Xochitl Torres Small, all Democrats – took action against the declaration this week. They voted in favor of a resolution that would block the president’s declaration.

The issue is now before the Senate, where U.S. Sens. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, introduced the companion resolution later in the week. The resolution is expected to come up for a vote in the Senate before Congress goes into recess on March 15. Luján calls Trump’s declaration unconstitutional. “We will continue to do everything within our power to end this craven power grab by the president, and I sincerely hope that the Republican-held Senate will rise to their constitutional duty and do the same,” Luján said. Haaland labeled the declaration a “political ploy.” “This is about upholding the Constitution and maintaining the systems of checks and balances,” Haaland added. “New Mexico families deserve leaders in Washington who will respect the Constitution, and fight to defend our national security. The president failed to do that when he decided to raid this funding to play politics.” Torres Small called for a smart initiative in border security, but said there wasn’t a national emergency along the border.

“I grew up on the border and the border is my home. Over the last several months I have spent significant time with (Customs and Border Protection) agents and officers visiting more than a half dozen times,” Torres Small said. “I have been to all three ports of entry in New Mexico, the wall, highway border check points, and border patrol stations across my district. While there is work to be done to more effectively secure our border, there is not a national emergency, which is why I voted to terminate the president’s national emergency declaration.”

Udall said there was no legal basis to justify the declaration. “But regardless how you feel about the president or his wall proposal, this declaration is an end run around the Constitution, designed to raid critical military funding for money that Congress did not provide, after a long and difficult debate just a few weeks ago,” Udall said. U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., indicated he would support the resolution when it comes to a vote in the Senate. “There is no national emergency on our southern border,” Heinrich said on Twitter. “The Senate must now take action to stand up against President Trump’s abuse of power.” Haaland said New Mexico military bases stand to lose as much as $132 million in funding if the Trump administration is allowed to divert funding appropriated for military construction projects. Total funding that could be diverted may be as high as $3.6 billion. A list of project funding that may be diverted has not been determined, but Haaland and Heinrich’s office said $85 million for an MQ-9 Formal Training Unit Ops Facility at Holloman Air Force Base, $40 million for an information systems facility at White Sands Missile Range and $7 million for the Wyoming Gate security upgrade at Kirtland Air Force Base could be in jeopardy.