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Feinstein on National Emergency Declaration

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement on the president’s decision to declare a national emergency to build a border wall:

“The president’s national emergency declaration is based on falsehoods about immigration and the Southern border. There’s simply no crisis that necessitates a military response. The president acknowledged as much in his remarks when he said he ‘didn’t need to do this’ but wanted to build the wall ‘faster.’

“Unauthorized crossings have been at their lowest levels in years. In 2000, Customs and Border Protection reported more than 1.6 million apprehensions. In 2017, the agency reported just 303,916 apprehensions, one-fifth of the level just two decades ago. That’s because investments in border security, including additional border patrol agents, fencing in urban areas, ground sensors, drones and increased use of E-Verify, have worked.

“In addition, since 2014, two-thirds of undocumented immigrants have come to the United States legally but then overstayed their visas—more than 500,000 per year. A border wall would do nothing to curb visa overstays.

“Our country is not being overrun by dangerous criminals. Immigrants commit fewer crimes than native-born citizens do. Data collected in Texas show the arrest rate for undocumented immigrants in 2015 was 40 percent lower than the native-born population. Immigrants seeking asylum are largely families with young children fleeing persecution and violence in Central America who have a legal right to petition our government for asylum.

“A sea-to-Gulf border wall also will not prevent drugs from being smuggled into the country as the president continues to claim. More than 80 percent of drugs seized by the Department of Homeland Security come through legal ports of entry. The Drug Enforcement Administration’s 2018 National Drug Threat Assessment substantiates that fact.

“The bottom line is that the president is declaring a national emergency because Congress, which has the power of the purse, knows the reality at our Southern border and refused to fund a border wall. There is no emergency—the president is trying to create one with falsehoods and inflammatory rhetoric.”