24 May 2019

Congress votes to reverse Trump's declaration on border wall

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The US Senate has voted 59-41 to reverse President Donald Trump's emergency declaration to spend $8bn to build a wall on its border with Mexico. reports citing Independent.

The vote on Thursday set up the first veto showdown of Trump's presidency and a major political issue for the 2020 election.

Despite last minute personal appeals from Trump and a White House lobbying campaign, 12 Republicans broke with the president to join the Democrats in voting against the wall.

The margin, however, fell short of what would be needed to override a Trump veto which the US president is likely to do, according to his tweet sent a few minutes after the Senate decision.

Building a wall to stop migration from Mexico was Trump's signature campaign issue during his presidential election campaign in 2016. It was also at the core of the constitutional standoff between Trump and Congress that led to a 35-day government shutdown earlier this year.

"The president's emergency declaration is an end run around Congress, plain and simple," said Senator Tom Udall, a Democrat from New Mexico, one of four US states that border Mexico.

"I am here to tell you there is no national security emergency along the border in New Mexico."

Immigration has been a long-running, unresolved political issue in the US since a bipartisan immigration reform bill that was passed by the Senate in 2013 but failed in the House of Representatives because of Republican opposition.

Eleven million immigrants from Mexico and other countries are currently living in the US without proper authorization, according to estimates by the Pew Research Center, a non-partisan organization in Washington, DC.

Since October 1 last year, US Customs and Border Patrol has apprehended 268,000 persons trying to cross the southwest US border.

"We have failed to protect our border as any sovereign nation must and our people are dying because of it," said Senator Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican.

"The president has declared a national emergency because of this crisis. Yet, the administration's sensible long-overdue efforts to secure the border have been met only by howls of outrage from the Democratic party."

Republicans who voted against Trump cited the US Constitution's assignment of authority over spending to Congress, not the president, and argued that shifting funding away from military construction projects already approved by Congress would have negative consequences.

2019.03.15 / 15:36
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