Mehlman: 'Pure politics' not a solution for border crisis

Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Chris Woodward (

US Capitol White House money backgroundCongress needs to come up with the appropriate funds to build a wall on the southern border – that's the opinion of an immigration reform group following another ruling against the Trump administration.

In a 56-page ruling on Friday, Judge Haywood Gilliam of the Northern District of California said the Trump administration cannot move forward with border wall projects in Texas and Arizona. According to Judge Gilliam, the administration could not disburse the funds without approval from Congress.

Gilliam, a Barack Obama appointee, wrote that "the position that when Congress declines the Executive's request to appropriate funds, the Executive nonetheless may simply find a way to spend those funds 'without Congress' does not square with fundamental separation of powers principles dating back to the earliest days of our Republic."

Fox News reported on Tuesday that the group "We Build the Wall" is using private donations from 300,000 Americans to build a steel fence on private land in El Paso, Texas. The average donation was $67. In the report, former Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach – who has been mentioned as a possible "immigration czar" in the Trump administration – noted that the Army Corps of Engineers had stated it would be "impossible" to build a wall in that area because of the steep, rugged terrain.

While this doesn't mean the Trump administration cannot use funds from other sources, it is viewed as another setback for a president who has been talking up the need for a border wall since he launched his campaign in 2015.

"This order is a win for our system of checks and balances, the rule of law, and border communities," says Dror Ladin, an ACLU staff attorney, in a statement to CNN.


"This was a very limited ruling, but the fact remains that Congress needs to come up with the appropriate funds to build this wall," says Ira Mehlman, media director for Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). "The reason for this wall is evident to everyone: we have a crisis at the border. Walls are extremely effective in dealing with this – and it's pure politics at this point why Congress will not appropriate the funds."

Mehlman cites as proof of the crisis the fact that people are coming across the border illegally in record numbers. "The past two months have seen more than 100,000 a month," he continues. "We're on pace to exceed a million people being apprehended at the border during this fiscal year."

Meanwhile, Mehlman says people are abusing the political asylum system established for handling those coming across the border.

"You have people taking advantage of a judicial ruling that says we can't detain families with children for more than 20 days," he adds. "So there are many, many reasons why people need to pay attention to this and make sure that their members of Congress are responding to their interests [and] not to the partisan bickering that's going on in Washington, DC, right now."


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