America’s top law enforcement official on Friday called President Donald Trump’s declaration of an emergency at the South Border “imperative.”
“(W)hat you’ve done from a legal standpoint is solidly grounded in law. And from the standpoint of protecting the American people, it’s imperative,” said Attorney General William Barr according to a White House media pool report.
Barr spoke during a White House ceremony during which Trump vetoed a congressional resolution that sought to block the emergency. Trump’s declaration now faces a battle in the courts against states that are trying to block it.
The declaration “was clearly authorized under the law and consistent with past precedent,” Barr said, adding that “the National Emergencies Act directly authorizes the President, and gives broad discretionary authority to the President, to identify and respond to emergent circumstances that require a decisive response.”
Under that law, “the humanitarian and security crisis we have on the border right now is exactly the kind of emergency that presidents are permitted to address,” he said.
After noting that in the past 40 years, 59 emergencies have been declared, Barr said this one was more urgent than most because it was closer to home.
“(A)ny of these have dealt with political conditions in countries like Burundi, Sierra Leone, Belarus. The crisis that we’re dealing with today is right on our doorstep, and it presents a real clear and present danger to the American people,” he said.
Attorney General Bill Barr assures Trump his emergency declaration is constitutional.
“The crisis at our southern border is a real, clear and present danger to the American people. What you’ve done from a legal standpoint is solidly grounded in law and … and is imperative.” pic.twitter.com/3ZShwgiYSY
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) March 15, 2019
During the ceremony, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen called the emergency “undeniable.”
Because of the vast increase in migrant families trying to cross illegally, “there’s a very unique and dangerous humanitarian crisis at hand,” she said.
“So we have a duty to know who comes in our country, and we have a duty to ensure that the flow is safe and orderly,” she said.
“The system is breaking. Security is at risk. And the very humanitarian protections that we hold dear in this country are at risk in terms of our ability to provide those to vulnerable populations,” Nielsen said.
Wicomico County, Maryland, Sheriff Mike Lewis was on hand for the ceremony, and noted that border security is essential to fighting the war against illegal drugs.
“While we Americans only make up about 7 percent of the world’s total population, about 68 percent of the world’s total drugs are consumed here in the United States every year. This is not political propaganda. We have a dire crisis on our southwest border, and America’s sheriffs stand behind the President of the United States, 100 percent. He has had our back. He’s had the Americans’ back. And we stand behind you solidly for what you’re doing here today” he said.
Mary Ann Mendoza, whose son died in 2014, also spoke Friday on behalf of Angel families — those who have lost a loved one at the hands of an illegal immigrant.
“Angel Families come forward to tell their stories not because we’ve created a manufactured crisis but because we want to tell the American people and share with you our heartache and let you know what is happening on our doorsteps, what’s happening to your neighbors, what’s happening to your fellow Americans,” she said.
“And there is a way to prevent this, and it’s not by continuingly (sic) lying to you and telling you that there isn’t a problem. There is a problem. It’s a national emergency,” she said.
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