Sending Office: Honorable Janice D. Schakowsky
Sent By:

        Request for Signature(s)

Deadline: January 11, 2019


Current Co-signers: Reps. Velázquez, Soto, Takano, Norton, McGovern, Rush, Lee, Grijalva, Meng, Cohen, Lowenthal, Welch

Dear Colleague:

Please join me in sending a letter to the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee expressing our Caucus’ desire that the President be restricted from utilizing military resources for the construction of a wasteful and senseless border wall by declaring
a national emergency.

As the Committee forms and begins consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY20, they should prioritize including restrictions to make such an illegal and unconstitutional action impossible. Our Chairman has rightfully spoken out against
the President’s misguided maneuver. Let us all unite to make it clear that we refuse to allow the President to abuse his authority for perceived political gain.

To sign on or to get more information, please contact Kate Durkin in Representative Schakowsky’s office at



Jan Schakowksy

Member of Congress


Letter Text:

Dear Chairman Smith:

Congratulations on assuming the Chairmanship of the House Armed Services Committee. Our nation is fortunate to have your steady hand guiding defense policy at this unique moment in history. We write today to ask your assistance in working to prevent the
United States Military from becoming a pawn in President Trump’s immoral, wasteful, and potentially illegal border “wall”.

As the President’s unnecessary partial government shutdown continues, he has stated that he is considering utilizing the National Emergencies Act to declare a “national emergency” and use 10 U.S.C. 284 and 10 U.S.C 2808 to permit the DOD to construct barriers
at the border. We believe this is a dangerous and unprecedented move and an abuse of executive power. Furthermore, 10 U.S.C. 284 only permits the construction of roads and fences—not a wall.  The barrier the President intends to build under 10 U.S.C. 284 could
only be erected along “drug smuggling corridors” and therefore could not be relied upon to support construction projects in areas where drug smuggling is not known to occur.

Another provision within 10 U.S.C. 2808, limits Defense Department construction projects to those “that are necessary to support such use of the armed forces” required by the emergency.  The border “wall” being pushed by the Trump Administration does not
meet this requirement.

As you know, even if Congress approved funding for the President’s wall, its ultimate costs would go well beyond the $5.7 billion requested by the Administration. The final cost would be tens of billions of dollars beyond this amount. There is no reason
to spend our national treasure on a gimmick that will not help secure the homeland in a meaningful way.

The White House has lied to the American people by falsely claiming that Customs and Border Protection picked up nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists last year “that came across our southern border.” This is simply not true. In total, 41 people on
the Terrorist Screening Database were encountered at the southern border from Oct. 1, 2017 through March 31, 2018, but 35 of them were U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. Only six were classified as non-U.S. persons. Six foreign suspects apprehended
by agents at the border does not amount to a national emergency.

We ask as you form your committee and begin initial consideration of the FY20 NDAA, that you work to assure the President and Secretary of Defense cannot utilize a fake “national emergency” to coopt the military into the construction of the President’s wall.
We ask that you continue to signal your intent to impose strong restriction in the NDAA to make this impossible.

A President’s war powers are the most serious powers held by the Commander in Chief and should never be utilized for political stunts, only genuine national security emergencies. As you know the Constitution gives the House the power to appropriate federal
funds. Spending funds on a wall Congress has not authorized is a violation of the Anti-Deficiency Act as well as a violation of separation of powers.

We thank you in advance for your attention to this critical issue. You have always done the right thing in the past and we know you will continue to do so long into the future.


Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information:Appropriations, Armed Services, Homeland Security, Immigration

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