Washington D.C., March 15, 2019 — The International Rescue Committee (IRC) reacts this evening to President Trump’s veto of the “Resolution of Disapproval” passed by the U.S. Congress. The Resolution was passed to terminate the national emergency declared by President Trump on February 15, which sought to secure funding to build a physical barrier on the southern border. The President invoked national emergency powers after Republicans and Democrats alike, representing a wide swath of Americans, clearly rejected the President’s request for border wall funding.
Congress and the American people want common sense solutions, not walls. Even as President Trump is using extraordinary measures to override the will of the people and secure funding for his border wall, the President’s FY2020 budget does far too little to address the reasons people are fleeing in the first place. Levels of violence and insecurity in Central America rival those of war zones, but the $8.6 billion the President requested in FY2020 for a wall--that experts across the political spectrum have panned as ineffective--is almost 20 times more than the amount requested to address the root causes of violence and displacement in the region.
Overall, the President’s budget slashes humanitarian aid by 34 percent at a time when 14 million people are on the brink of famine in Yemen alone, Ebola is resurgent, and nearly 70 million people are displaced by conflict worldwide.
Congress has repeatedly rejected the President’s request for money to build a wall, including by rejecting the President’s National Emergency declaration. The crisis on which this ‘emergency’ is based is a manufactured one. The number of irregular border crossings is at their historic lowest and the chaos sown at the border - under the continuing policy of zero tolerance - is of the Administration’s own doing.
The true crisis is the instability in Central America that has forced people to flee for their lives, coupled with the administration’s systematic attacks on these same vulnerable individuals. In particular, violence in the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador is amongst some of the worst in the world outside of an active war zone.
The Administration has slashed funding to address the violence in these countries, rejected asylum seekers at the border, detained thousands seeking asylum including children, and has threatened to return hundreds of thousands of Central Americans legally residing in the United States under Temporary Protected Status to the very nations from which people are fleeing.
Congress must act to reverse the systemic attacks on protections for vulnerable populations, refugee resettlement, and legal pathways for asylum seekers, to protect American values and American interests. In recovering America’s humanitarian leadership, Congress must override the President’s veto, restore funding to address violence and insecurity in Central America, vote to prevent the deportation of those with Temporary Protected Status, and uphold the rights of people seeking asylum”
The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 28 offices across the U.S. helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.