SULLIVAN VOTES IN SUPPORT OF EMERGENCY
Twelve Republicans joined Senate Democrats in voting to overturn the president’s national emergency declaration today.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska was among them, but Sen. Dan Sullivan voted against the House resolution to block President Donald Trump from proceeding with the construction of a border wall without the approval of Congress.
The 59-41 vote in the Senate will likely set up a Trump veto.
In addition to Murkowski, Republican Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Susan Collins of Maine, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Jerry Moran of Kansas, Rob Portman of Ohio, Marco Rubio of Florida, Roger Wicker of Mississippi and Roy Blunt of Missouri voted for the House resolution.
On Twitter, Trump said “a vote for today’s resolution by Republican Senators is a vote for Nancy Pelosi, Crime, and the Open Border Democrats!”
But Murkowski said she was voting for House Joint Resolution 46 because, “I take very seriously my oath to uphold the Constitution, and my respect for the balance within the separation of powers. Article 1 provides that the power to appropriate lies with the legislative branch. When the executive branch goes around the express intention of Congress on matters within its jurisdiction, we must speak up or legislative acquiescence will erode our constitutional authority,” said Senator Murkowski. “We can and must address the President’s very legitimate concerns over border security, but we must not do it at the expense of ceding Congress’ power of the purse.”
Sen. Dan Sullivan said that after weeks of study of the crisis on the Southern border, and the historical uses of executive authority, as well a the role of Congress and the direction given by the Constitution, he was a yes vote.
“After much reflection, I have concluded that today’s vote was primarily about the underlying emergency and, as I have consistently stated, there is no doubt that a crisis exists at the border. With the influx of drugs, crime, and human trafficking as a result of a porous southern border, I could not vote for a bill that, in effect, would block the President’s attempt—using authority authorized by Congress and previously invoked by numerous Presidents—to better secure the border and keep Americans safe.”
The House had earlier passed the resolution on a vote of 245-182, with Congressman Don Young voting against the Democrat-led legislation.
More than 76,000 illegal border-crossers were apprehended crossing the southern border in February, the highest February in a decade and more than any month during the 2014 border surge during the Obama presidency.
Last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection released statistics on Southwest Border apprehensions for fiscal year 2019 and called it a humanitarian and national security crisis.
“Family Unit Aliens are crossing our borders in record numbers. This fiscal year to date, CBP has seen a more than 300 percent increase in the number of family units apprehended compared to the same time period in fiscal year 2018. Today, family units and unaccompanied alien children make up 60 percent of apprehension that have occurred along the southwest border and are predominantly from Central America, namely Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
“Additionally, there have been 70 large groups of 100 or more individuals totaling 12,069 apprehensions, compared to what Border Patrol encountered in FY18, which was 13 large groups, and in FY17, which was only two.
“We are currently facing a humanitarian and national security crisis along our southwest border. The vast increases in families and children coming across our border, in larger groups and in more remote areas, presents a unique challenge to our operations and facilities, and those of our partners, including the NGOS who work to assist these individuals and families throughout their immigration proceedings,” said CBP Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan. “This is why I am working with our government partners and have identified additional funding for humanitarian resources in the field, including expanded medical protocols, and the addition of a more appropriate central processing center to handle the increased volumes of family units and unaccompanied minors.”
The border agency is increasing medical support for the illegal immigrants, with an emphasis on treating juvenile detainees.
CBP will also expand contracted medical support in major “high-risk” locations at and between ports of entry along the border where families with children are crossing. This will include medical assessments by registered nurses and family nurse practitioners.
CBP is standing up a Centralized Processing Center in El Paso, Texas, to increase the care of and provision for UAC and FMUA in the temporary custody of CBP while awaiting disposition by ICE and/or placement with HHS.