U.S. Reps. Deb Haaland, Ben Ray Luján and Xochitl Torres Small joined their Senate colleagues in voting Friday to end President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration on the southern border.
The House approved the measure 236-174. Eleven Republicans crossed the aisle to vote for the resolution. The Senate passed its version of the resolution, which was sponsored by U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, on Wednesday. His New Mexico Democratic colleague Martin Heinrich also supported the legislation, which would restore $3.6 billion for military projects that is being diverted for construction of a wall on the border with Mexico.
Neither vote was enough to override an expected veto from the president, who vetoed a similar measure earlier this year.
“There is a humanitarian crisis on the southern border created by President Trump’s failed policies,” Luján said of the House vote. “We need to direct our resources and our energy to providing humanitarian care to refugees and children, passing comprehensive immigration reform, and making whole the organizations and localities that have stepped up to provide financial support to refugees. The president’s fake national emergency declaration was a political move designed to distract from the real challenges faced by our communities.”
New Mexico was among the states taking a hit from the diversion of funding, with $125 million intended for projects at Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo and White Sands Missile Range shifted to border wall construction. Put on hold are an $85 million project for an unmanned aerial vehicle training facility at Holloman and a $40 million project for an information systems facility at White Sands Missile Range. Both projects are in Torres Small’s district.
“Our immigration system is broken, and we absolutely need to fix it,” she said. “But this declaration would allow the administration to raid money allocated for desperately needed military projects at both Holloman Air Force Base and White Sands Missile Range. The incompletion or delay of both projects will undoubtedly affect our military readiness, and I can’t support any effort that would put that in jeopardy. What we need most at our southern border is a security strategy that is the result of a careful mile-by-mile analysis.”
“I voted to end the President’s unlawful national emergency declaration as its only purpose was so he could circumvent the will of Congress, which holds the power of the purse,” Haaland added. “He wasn’t happy that we denied him funding to build his wasteful, ineffective border wall because there are more effective ways to secure our nation, so he declared this bogus emergency in order to redirect funding from critical military construction projects at White Sands Missile Range, Holloman Air Force Base, and installations around the country, and put it towards his wall. The only way to ensure that this funding is used for the purpose Congress intended is to terminate the President’s fake national emergency.”
Diverted money will help fund 11 construction projects that will build 175 miles of the border wall. The Department of Defense said the diversion of funds is temporary. It said the president would restore funding in his proposed fiscal 2020 budget.