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Last Friday, the same day President Trump announced the “national emergency,” Vice President Mike Pence joined the Munich Security Conference and enumerated the national security threats to the United States government. Notably missing from the Vice President’s speech, any mention of immigration, migrants, Central America or the President’s wall.
Experts, across the political spectrum, readily agree that the connection between the President’s emergency declaration and national security is fictitious and point to the true national emergencies that this administration is ignoring, defunding, and, in some cases, exacerbating. Trump’s declaration is not only unnecessary, but it endangers Americans, as resources and funding are diverted from true national emergencies.
Below, we excerpt a couple of the latest pieces on the risks of Trump’s “national emergency” declaration.
By declaring a national emergency to fund a border wall, Trump is diverting financial and military resources and the attention of policymakers to prepare for threats that are far more real, pervasive and deadly. He also is impeding the public’s ability to understand the likelihood of threats against which they need to protect themselves.
…Homeland security is a matter of assessing risks and assigning resources to mitigate them in proportion to the likelihood they would occur. Every hour spent on photo ops related to the border wall is an hour not spent on other mission-critical tasks that matter far more to making America safe. News of the resignation of the acting FEMA director Brock Long last Wednesday was overtaken by border wall coverage within hours, yet his job touches many more Americans made vulnerable by increasingly severe natural disasters. And the president said nothing about the nearly three dozen school shootings since 17 were killed at a high school in Parkland, Florida, just over a year ago.
As the third secretary of Homeland Security, I thought deeply about my tenure and focused on one question in particular: How safe are we today? The threats we face have evolved significantly since Sept. 11, 2001, when the smartphone had not been invented and social media was the arcane province of geeks. Today’s terrorists, both foreign and domestic, recruit adherents online, inspiring them to radicalize and commit acts of violence, but Trump’s claim before last November’s midterm elections that they were infiltrating migrant caravans from Central America and Mexico and heading to the U.S. border is widely understood to be inaccurate. It is undercut by government data showing that of the 3,755 actual or attempted entries by known or suspected terrorists into the U.S. in fiscal year 2017, few attempted entry via Mexico.
The president declared a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border on Friday to secure up to $8 billion in funding for a barrier on the southern border – more than four times what Congress approved.
In San Diego officials are eyeing the long-term costs of the Trump administration’s decision to pull $3.6 billion of that $8 billion from the military construction budget to use for the wall along the border.
…The House Appropriation Committee released a long list of construction projects that could be affected by the emergency declaration, including $124 million in projects on Camp Pendleton alone. Levin had just returned to Southern California on Friday after spending the week in Washington. Like most members of Congress from military towns, he expected to spend the weekend fielding questions from constituents in and out of the military.