A non-binding state House resolution advanced Tuesday condemning Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel for joining a lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s border wall emergency declaration.
“While I don’t necessarily like the resolution [and] since resolutions are just to emphasize opinions, I respect all opinions, and that’s your opinion on this matter,” said Minority Vice Chair Jewell Jones (D-Inkster), who abstained.
During testimony, bill sponsor state Rep. Daire Rendon (R-Lake City) called Nessel’s action a “political stunt that will not only prevent the securing of our southern border; it is a total waste of taxpayer dollars.
“The president has a duty to protect the well-being of American people. Delaying or blocking his ability to do that is dangerous and short-sighted,” Rendon said.
Trump declared a national emergency on Feb. 15 so Department of Defense funds would be redistributed for his border wall.
Nessel joined 15 states in the lawsuit last month questioning whether the president has constitutional authority to declare a national emergency for the wall, as the Advance has reported. Nessel, a Democrat, at the time called the Trump declaration a “manufactured crisis.”
“This fake emergency is a publicity stunt that will raid our federal funding and cost us millions,” said Nessel on Feb. 18. “We cannot in good conscience stand by while our president seeks to undermine our own efforts to keep our residents safe and our military strong.”
The U.S. House passed a resolution last month opposing Trump’s action, with the support of two Michigan Republicans, U.S. Reps. Justin Amash of Cascade Township and Fred Upton of St. Joseph. The GOP-controlled U.S. Senate is poised to follow suit, as several Republicans have said they will vote for it.
But several Republicans in the Michigan Legislature appear to be on a different page.
“We are in a state of emergency,” Rendon said on Tuesday. “We can’t wait any longer.”
However, the Center for Migration Studies on New York, a think tank and an educational institute devoted to the study of international migration, has reported on the dramatic decline in the U.S. undocumented population between 2008 and 2014.
The study points out that two-thirds of those who arrived in 2014 did not illegally cross a border, but were admitted after screening on non-immigrant temporary visas, and then overstayed their period of admission or otherwise violated the terms of their visas.
During her testimony, Rendon said her family was negatively impacted by immigration.
“We have a first cousin who lives in McAllen, Texas. It’s a border town. And people cannot even cross the border safely, the way they used to. That’s a border that I used to cross often in the years past,” she said. “My daughter who lives on the other side does not drive up across the board any longer. So there are real problems there and it is a safety hazard and a big danger to the American people.”
State Rep. Tyrone Carter (D-Detroit) questioned the timing of both the Trump declaration and the Rendon resolution.
“Why hasn’t this been resolved at the federal level and why are we getting involved with it now?” Carter said. “It’s not an emergency. It’s been ongoing for a couple of years. So why now?”