A Letter Protesting Trump's National Emergency Has Support From 58 Ex-Government Officials
In a joint declaration released to the public on Monday, 58 prominent ex-government officials signed off on a letter protesting Trump's national emergency. Per NBC, the letter, which was endorsed by the likes of Madeleine Albright and John Kerry, argues that there is no emergency at the border that justifies Trump's latest move. What's more, it argues that if he continues to move forward with the declaration and diverts funds for the border wall, there could be serious consequences on an international level.
In the letter, the bipartisan collection of 58 ex-government officials detail all of the supposed border emergencies they think cannot be solved by a wall: no human or drug trafficking emergency, no emergency related to violent crime at the border, no documented terrorist emergency, and no national security emergency.
The letter reads in part,
Redirecting funds for the claimed "national emergency" will undermine U.S. national security and foreign policy interests. In the fact of a nonexistent threat, redirecting funds for the construction of a wall along the southern border will undermine national security by needlessly pulling resources from Department of Defense programs that are responsible for keeping our troops and our country safe and running effectively.
The officials also argued that this move by POTUS to divert funds will "erode [Trump's] credibility with foreign leaders, both friend and foe." You can read the letter in full here.
Beyond making the case that there is no factual need for a national emergency declaration, the letter highlights a number of critical statistics and details: that illegal border crossings are currently near a 40-year low; that the overwhelming majority of individuals currently on the U.S. watch list for terrorists have entered the country via air travel, not a border crossing; that illegal crossings at the border are not the major source of opioid smuggling or human trafficking (rather, that occurs primarily at legal points of entry); and that repurposing funds for the border wall will take resources away from road construction, the improvement of military hospitals, and more.
According to NBC, the letter was written and then released with the direct intention of supporting lawsuits that challenge Trump's decision to redirect $8 billion in funds for the border wall. The letter will now be entered into the Congressional Record, per The Washington Post.
The publication further notes that this isn't the first time a group of lawmakers has released a joint letter condemning the national emergency: 26 former GOP lawmakers signed a similar open letter that was published on Monday, as well. The letter is directly addressed to current Republican members of Congress. It says in part,
Like us, you have taken an oath of office ... You were sent to Congress to be the voice of the people. We who have served where you serve now call on you to honor your oath of office and to protect the Constitution and the responsibilities it vested in Congress. We ask that you pass a joint resolution terminating the emergency declared by the President on February 15, 2019.
You can read the letter in full here.