President Biden Rescinds National Emergency Declaration, Promises No Money will be Used for Wall
FAIR Take | Government Relations | February 2021
President Biden issued a proclamation on Thursday, February 11, rescinding the declaration of national emergency on the Southern Border. In President Biden’s letter to Congress, he claimed the original proclamation was “unwarranted.” In the same announcement, President Biden also pledged “that no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall.”
The national emergency was first declared by former President Trump on February 15, 2019, following alarming numbers of apprehensions of illegal border crossers in Southwest Border Region. Starting during the Obama administration, but continuing into 2019, record numbers of unaccompanied minors and family units arrived at the Southern border, exceeding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s capacity to even detain them temporarily. The crisis peaked in the spring of 2019, when DHS Customs and Border Protection (CBP) apprehended over 100,000 aliens a month for four consecutive months.
The surge in illegal border crossings during this time effectively broke the back of CBP operations in the region, requiring personnel from across DHS to be diverted to address the crisis. The proclamation of a national emergency, consistent with the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622), enabled the Trump administration to use government money to continue construction of the border fence in key regions.
President Biden made this announcement at the same time the United States is expecting a large surge in illegal border crossings in the Southwest Border Region, as aliens respond to the drastic change in immigration enforcement policies by the new administration. These policies include, among many other immigration actions:
- an attempt to halt deportations entirely for 100 days;
- end the use of the effective Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which, subject to CBP discretion, required some aliens to wait in Mexico pending their immigration proceedings rather than be detained or released into the interior of the United States; and
- new enforcement priorities, which may, for the long term, drastically reduce the number of illegal aliens that could be put into removal proceedings before an immigration judge.
Despite appearing to take every effort to encourage illegal immigration, the White House pleaded with migrants this week to not attempt to enter to the United States unlawfully. “Now is not the time to come,” Jen Psaki, a White House spokeswoman, told reporters. “The vast majority of people will be turned away.”