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There is a National Emergency at the Southern Border. True or False?

On February 15, 2019, President Trump declared a national emergency at the U.S. Southern Border with Mexico in order to build a wall. Citing the National Emergencies Act, the presidential proclamation describes the border “as a major entry point for criminals, gang members, and illicit narcotics,” where there have been “sharp increases in the number of family units entering,” thus necessitating “the Armed Forces to provide additional support to address the crisis.”

Significantly, the president issued this proclamation after Congress refused his request for billions to realize a campaign promise: “I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively.  I will build a great great wall on our southern border and I’ll have Mexico pay for that wall.”  From congressional resolutions to terminate the public emergency to ensuing federal litigation challenging it, our experts discuss legal developments and related ramifications one year later.



  • Engy Abdelkader, Chair, Rights of Immigrants Committee, ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice

Co-Sponsors: ABA Center for Public Interest LawABA Commission on ImmigrationABA Criminal Justice SectionABA Government and Public Sector Lawyers DivisionABA International Law Section


Presentation: Erica Newland 

Time to Rehabilitate the Legislative Veto: How Congress Should Rein in Presidents’ “National Emergency” Powers
Courtesy of Seth Weinberger

Letter Re: A Call for Solidarity and Tips for Engaging in Border Advocacy
Courtesy of Laura Pena

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