Congress passes resolution against border emergency

shutterstock 1186368280 Members of the 115th congress and their families mingle on the house floor while attending the joint session on the opening day of the current session. | mark reinstein / Shutterstock

The House and Senate have passed a joint resolution to terminate President Trump's February declaration of emergency at the U.S.-Mexico Border, before departing for a two-week recess. The support for the resolution, however, is not likely to be enough to override the expected presidential veto.

On Wednesday, before leaving for its October recess, the Senate passed S.J. Res. 54 by a vote of 54 to 41. In addition to 42 Democrats who voted in favor of it, 11 Republicans supported the resolution.

On Friday, the House passed the same resolution by a vote of 236-174. Voting in favor were 11 Republicans and 224 Democrats.

"This resolution reflects the fact that the President's assertion of a national security emergency at the border is false," Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), House Majority Leader, stated on Friday. "The crisis at the border is a humanitarian one, and it is a crisis of this President's own making."

In December of 2018, Trump had refused to sign a spending bill passed by Congress because it did not devote money for a border wall, triggering a 35-day partial government shutdown over border security funding. The partial shutdown was the longest in history.

After a temporary agreement without border wall funding reopened the government for several weeks, President Trump declared a national emergency and diverted funding appropriated by Congress for other purposes for the construction of a border wall. 

In response, leading bishops expressed their concern at the president's action. 

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. bishops' conference (USCCB), and Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, issued a Feb. 15 statement that "[w]e are deeply concerned" about the action "which circumvents the clear intent of Congress to limit funding of a wall."

"We oppose the use of these funds to further the construction of the wall," the bishops stated. "The wall first and foremost is a symbol of division and animosity between two friendly countries."

"We remain steadfast and resolute in the vision articulated by Pope Francis that at this time we need to be building bridges and not walls," the statement read.

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