On Friday, President Donald Trump declared a state of national emergency as a last-ditch effort to pay for his border wall. The president had been threatening to do so for months while Congress refused to give him the funds on its own; even before he announced the decision, there was swift pushback from Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike. If you're also an opponent of his action, you may want to know how to protest Trump's national emergency border wall declaration.
The declaration appropriates funds from other areas of government and redirects them toward border wall construction. According to NBC News, Trump is siphoning off a whopping $8 billion that will be taken from the Defense Department and Treasury Department.
If you oppose this move, you're in agreement with most Americans. In a CBS News poll released earlier this month, 66 percent of respondents said that Trump shouldn't declare a national emergency. The survey was heavily split along partisan lines (73 percent of Republicans said they would support such a declaration).
While there are limited ways that the public can try to prevent the national emergency from taking effect, there are still some things you can do. In particular, there are definitely plenty of ways to make your voice heard.
Contact Your Representatives
Reach out to your representatives to make sure they know that you want them to fight Trump's declaration and the border wall in general. There are several ways they can do so. First, Congress can create a joint resolution against the national emergency. The resolution would probably pass, The New York Times reports, but it wouldn't actually nullify Trump's declaration unless it could acquire the support of a veto-proof majority, which is less likely.
Members can also support efforts to challenge Trump's declaration in court. The House itself might sue, according to The Washington Post, and lawsuits may also come from civil rights and environmental groups.
Draw Attention To What Should Be A National Emergency Instead
Many have argued that Trump's narrative about the border describes a manufactured crisis, in part because rates of illegal crossings are way down (they've been lower in recent years than at anytime since the early '70s, per Vox). Instead, some argue, the real crisis is what migrants themselves are experiencing. Well over 1,000 people are currently waiting at the border to seek asylum. There's also the ongoing trauma of families who were separated by the Trump administration's policies.
If you disagree with Trump's definition of "national emergency," take this opportunity to draw attention to whatever you think does qualify. The hashtag #FAKENationalEmergency was trending on Twitter Friday morning; you could tweet about your idea of which issues you think would constitute a #REALNationalEmergency.
Maybe you think the opioid epidemic fits the bill. Or maybe your priority is gun-related violence. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested as much on Thursday: She argued that Trump's emergency declaration would set a new precedent for U.S. presidents and that Democrats could use it in the future to declare gun violence a national emergency.
Join A Protest
There will likely be protests around the country in response to Trump's action (and if there isn't one nearby, you can take the initiative to organize your own). Indivisible is already planning a series of national events that will take place on Monday. Search for more rallies through Move On, Rallylist, and Eventbrite.
The New York Times reports that presidents have declared national emergencies 58 times since the current emergency powers laws went into effect in 1976. Not one of the previous instances, however, "involved funding a policy goal after failing to win congressional approval," The Times' Charlie Savage writes.
This is an extraordinary moment, so if you care about it, you should act. Luckily, there's a lot you can do.
This article has been updated.