Local groups planning protest of national emergency

Local News

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Central Illinois groups are preparing to rally against President Trump’s national emergency declaration.

He’s relying on the National Emergencies Act of 1975. That requires him to publicly tell Congress, and report back every six months. But, the law doesn’t define what a national emergency is.

The White House believes the sitution at the southern border is an emergency.

Today community leaders say the struggles the White House are dealing with don’t constitute one.

“There is no emergency going on, there’s no crisis of any sort.”

Thomas Garza is president of the C-U Immigration Forum. He says building a wall on the southern border isn’t going to do much of anything.

“It really has very little effect on immigrants generally, even though they’re the supposed reason for this so-called emergency.”

President Trump expects to use $8 billion to build the wall, including the nearly $1.4 billion approved by Congress in a spending bill.

“We’re gonna do it one way or the other. We have to do it. We have an invasion of drugs and criminals coming into our country.”

He’ll have to sidestep Congress and take billions from other federal programs to do it.

Friday he predicted the White House would have to defend his decision to declare a national emergency, likely all the way to the Supreme Court.

“I think what will happen is, sadly, we’ll be sued, and sadly, it’ll go through a process. And, happily, we’ll win, I think.”

Terry Maher with Bend the Arc C-U says the facts aren’t on his side for that to happen. 

“I know that he gave all sorts of reasons in a speech, but his own Department of Homeland Security statistics showed that most of what he said was a lie.”

The group spearheaded several pro-immigration protests in 2018, and now they’re gearing up for another one this Monday.

“The only power we have is our protests, and that’s why we often yell this is what democracy looks like.”

Garza says it’s going to take groups to counter lies with truth.

“When somebody just makes things up, the erosion of checks and balances is really profound.”

Beyond the challenges to the presidents’ authority to declare an emergency, other lawsuits are also expected. Those would focus on issues like military construction project law that allows re-allocation of money in an emergency.

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