Miss. Senator Says President Using Legal Authority to Fulfill Existing Border Security Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today voted for stronger security on the nation’s southern border by voting against an effort to overturn President Trump’s National Emergency Declaration regarding the security and humanitarian crisis on the border.
Hyde-Smith, who serves on the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, voted against a Resolution of Disapproval (H.J.Res.46) to repudiate the emergency declaration issued by the President.  The resolution, which has now been passed by the House and Senate, is expected to be vetoed by President Trump.
“The President is justified in exercising his statutory authorities under the National Emergencies Act of 1976, which gives him the latitude to declare a national emergency specifically to implement an existing border security law that was enacted with broad bipartisan support,” Hyde-Smith said.
“An emergency declaration may not be an ideal course of action, but an objective look at surging unlawful border crossings and illegal drug trafficking indicates we are facing a crisis that will get worse before it gets better,” she said.  “This is a serious issue.  The citizens of this country would be better served if Congress worked together to address this humanitarian and border security crisis, rather than using the issue to score political points.”
U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials indicate that attempted border crossings in February marked an 11-year high for that month.  Apprehensions of caravan groups attempting to cross the border illegally has increased more than 600 percent over the past five years.
Since the enactment of the National Emergencies Act more than 40 years ago, Presidents have declared nearly 60 national emergencies for everything from the swine flu to the response to 9/11.
Within this law, President Trump’s Feb. 15 declaration is based on statutory authority provided by Congress and not inherent constitutional emergency power.  This action triggers other laws related to securing the border, including existing authorizing and appropriations measures that direct the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to “construct reinforced fencing along not less than 700 miles of the southwest border where fencing would be most practical and effective and provide for the installation of additional physical barriers, roads, lighting, cameras, and sensors to gain operational control of the southwest border.”