By Hazel Trice Edney
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – U.S. House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), the highest ranking African American in the U.S. Congress, has assailed President Donald Trump’s immigration national emergency as an “egregious abuse of power” and calls on his fellow congressional members to challenge his actions.
“The president’s declaration of a manufactured national emergency in order to erect an ineffective, wasteful, and medieval wall sets a dangerous precedent,” Clyburn said in a statement. “All of us who have taken an oath to the Constitution must challenge this egregious abuse of power and uphold the checks and balances that are the foundation of our republic.”
Clyburn joins a chorus of voices expressing outrage about Trump’s action that could draw $5.7 billion of taxpayer dollars for a wall that more than 58% of Americans say they do not want, according to a recent PRRI survey.
“This declaration has more to do with the president’s bruised ego than actually doing what is best for America. The author of The Art of The Deal couldn’t make a deal to build a wall. This is a fake solution to a fake crisis and we must stand firm in keeping the nation focused on the real issues impacting Americans,” said Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass (D-Calif.).
The Washington Post has reported that a coalition of 16 states have filed a federal lawsuit to block Trump’s plan for a border wall. Like Clyburn, the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, argues that Trump’s declaration of a national emergency was unconstitutional.
The lawsuit is being brought by states with Democratic governors, except Maryland’s Larry Hogan, a Republican who has challenged Trump on several major issues.
Trump is clear that he is declaring the national emergency because Congress refused to provide enough money for a border wall that he promised as a presidential candidate and also promised that Mexico would pay for it. But then Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto refused to pay for the wall, saying “Mexico doesn’t believe in walls.” Trump was then stuck with the unkept campaign promise and now appears desperate for a way to make good.
The 16 states suing Trump are California, New York, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon and Virginia.
In a Rose Garden announcement of his intent to declare the emergency, Trump claimed he is protecting the nation from caravans of people that he says are bringing drugs and crime into the U.S. through the Southern border, a claim that experts have refuted as false.
“So we’re going to be signing today, and registering, national emergency. And it’s a great thing to do because we have an invasion of drugs, invasion of gangs, invasion of people, and it’s unacceptable,” Trump said in his Rose Garden announcement, calling the emergency a “National Security and Humanitarian Crisis.”
As Trump continues to dig in his heals, predicting an eventual win in the U.S. Supreme Court, civil rights leaders are fighting their war in the court of public opinion.
“There are families who can’t make ends meet because their wages are too low. Citizens are being denied equal access at the ballot box because of voter suppression. We have a criminal justice system that still treats Americans better if they are rich and guilty than if they are poor and innocent. Black boys and girls are dying prematurely from gun violence while Black women are losing their lives during childbirth. These are just some of the real crises confronting America. Mr. President, it’s time to finally demonstrate the leadership worthy of the office you hold.”
This article originally appeared in the Nashville Pride.