Carper Statement on Senate’s Bipartisan Rejection of President Trump’s Unlawful National Emergency Declaration

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), senior Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), released a statement following the Senate’s bipartisan rejection of President Trump’s recent declaration of a national emergency at the U.S. Southern border. The resolution of disapproval passed by a vote of 59-41.

“Delaware is known as the First State because, on December 7, 1787, we ratified the U.S. Constitution before any other colony had done so. After all, Delawareans knew a good idea when they saw it. Centuries later, the document we signed is the most enduring and replicated constitution in the history of the world.

“In that constitution, our founders deliberately set up an intricate system of checks and balances. They devised a legislative branch, an executive branch and a judicial branch. The founders disagreed on many things: Should Congress be one unit or broken up into two chambers? Who would appoint judges? Would judges serve lifetime appointments? But one thing they did agree on was that they did not want power to be concentrated within the executive branch. They agreed that they did not want an all-powerful king. Today, I joined my colleagues from both sides of the aisle in voting to uphold that system of checks and balances, devised by our founders and enshrined in our constitution that has allowed our democracy to withstand the test of time.

“President Trump’s emergency declaration ignores the will of the American people, as well as the authority of Congress. On a bipartisan basis, this body has repeatedly chosen not to fund President Trump’s campaign promise of a massive, expensive concrete wall across our Southern border. In our democracy, the executive branch does not reign supreme.

“This declaration not only sets a dangerous precedent, but it also disregards the facts. Let’s be very clear: the Trump Administration’s migration policies are contributing to a real humanitarian crisis at our southern border — but a national emergency declaration to build a wall is not a real solution. We could spend $40 billion building a wall from sea to shining sea, but a wall alone will not deter those who fear for their lives from making the harrowing journey north.

“Unlike the President, I have visited Central America. In fact, I led a congressional delegation with colleagues from the House and Senate to Central America just last month. I’ve seen firsthand the difficult and dangerous conditions in the Northern Triangle that force so many to flee their homeland and seek safe haven at our border. I’ve spoken to elected officials, business leaders, law enforcement and humanitarian organizations from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador about the migration surge from the Northern Triangle to our border due to severe violence, corruption, and lack of economic opportunity. The conditions that people living in these countries face – and that we are complicit in creating – are the genuine emergency. We should be devoting our time and resources to strengthening initiatives that have proven effective like the Alliance for Prosperity – a plan, modeled after Plan Colombia, aimed at actually addressing the root causes of irregular migration from the Northern Triangle, rather than just focusing on the symptoms at our border.

“As the former Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, I understand and appreciate the need to secure our borders, and I have voted many times for smart security enhancements along our borders. I continue to welcome a conversation with my Republican colleagues and the President about smart solutions to address the irregular migration, but it must be rooted in facts. And the solutions must adhere to the processes enshrined in our constitution. Blatantly ignoring one branch of our government in order to build an ineffective, expensive wall that Congress has repeatedly chosen not to fund, and that the majority of Americans oppose, is not the answer.”