For Immediate Release
February 15, 2019
Media Contact: Janine Walsh
FAN Communications Coordinator
Franciscans Continue to Stand With Our Immigrant Sisters and Brothers
There is no National Emergency at our Southern Border; A Wall to Keep Out Asylum Seekers is Immoral
WASHINGTON, DC—Franciscans read the Signs of the Times with the scriptures in one hand and the newspaper in the other one. As part of the faith community we critique abuses of power according to an ethic based on the inviolable dignity of all people and the common good. Within this framework, we are called to identify with the poor, the vulnerable, and those who suffer any form of discrimination. We are called to be in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in their struggle to have their God-given dignity and rights honored by others. We continue to stand with our immigrant sisters and brothers, especially those fleeing violence and persecution and legally seeking asylum. We continue to say: a border wall to keep them out is immoral.
The announcement this morning of a national emergency by the President in order to gain funding for a border wall is a clear abuse of executive power. The National Emergencies Act was never intended to allow the circumventing of Congress to achieve a policy goal. Rather, the law was designed for situations in which Congress has no time to act. Congress acted deliberately in allotting funding for border security. The President's signing of this legislation and in the same breath announcing a national emergency is an egregious act of hostility towards the rule of law.
Unfortunately, right now, there are no limits on what type of event qualifies as a "national emergency." The possibility of abuse of the power given a president when an emergency is declared is eye-opening and frankly, quite unnerving. History presents us with multiple examples of why restraints on executive emergency powers are crucial in our constitutional republic.
To use funds legally appropriated by Congress for the purposes of building a wall at our southern border is a clear violation of the Constitution. "We feel this is another step toward the ruin of our Democracy and toward a Dictatorship." said Patrick Carolan, Executive Director of the Franciscan Action Network (FAN). Many people have made it clear that the border is not under attack. As Cardinal Tobin stated, "A wall would cause harm to immigrants and refugees, all of whom are equal to us in the eyes of God." We call on Congress to respond to this present abuse of executive power and to pass legislation with clearer safeguards for the future of our nation. There is no national emergency on our southern border.