WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today issued the following statement regarding his vote in favor of President Trump’s national emergency declaration:
“Today, the National Emergencies Act required the Senate to answer one question: whether there is an ongoing emergency at our southern border. I voted to support the President’s declaration because, as Texans realize all too well, there is one.
“This was a difficult vote. I understand my colleagues’ real concerns regarding the vast emergency powers that Congress has given the President over the last half-century. I share those concerns.
“The press will spin today’s vote as a rejection of border security, as opposition to a wall, and as a rejection of President Trump’s commitment to building the wall. All of that is false.
“Here’s what I believe: Number one, we have crisis on our border. A heartbreaking emergency, which I’ve seen first-hand in Texas, over and over again. Countless human lives hurt or lost by drug traffickers, human traffickers, and unchecked illegal immigration. For example: In 2018, Customs and Border Protection apprehended 396,579 people at our border. In the first 4 months of 2019, CBP has caught another 201,497. If that rate continues, we’ll apprehend over 600,000 people in 2019. These hundreds of thousands include a record-high number of families, including over 1,700 identified cases of an adult lying about a relationship to a child in order to get into our country. Each of those children are at serious risk of sexual assault or physical abuse – nobody compassionate should want even a single boy or girl in the custody of human traffickers. Between 2012 and 2018, border authorities seized over 7,300 tons—almost 14,700,000 pounds—of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and fentanyl. Of these, fentanyl seizures alone increased by almost 400% from 2016 to 2018. And in just 2014 to 2018, Border Patrol agents captured 1,630 members of MS-13 alone. That’s one member of MS-13 almost every day. This is a crisis and a tragedy, and we must fix it.
“Number two, we need to build a wall. From the first day I ran for Senate, I’ve fought to build a wall. I urged the President and the Senate to take up budget reconciliation and fully fund the wall last year—when we still had majorities in both houses of Congress. I’ve introduced the EL CHAPO Act to build the wall, and pay for it using the billions criminally forfeited from El Chapo and other drug dealers.
“Number three, the Constitution matters. Profoundly. My whole life, I’ve fought for the Constitution. The Constitution protects our fundamental liberties, and every President should be bound by it, whether Republican or Democrat. I took an oath to uphold the Constitution, and I made that promise to the People of Texas. When President Obama violated the Constitution through executive amnesty, I led the fight against that lawless action. Unlike President Obama, here President Trump is acting pursuant to explicit statutory authority. The National Emergencies Act gives the President the authority to activate more than a hundred distinct emergency powers, including those he is exercising here. That statute is, I believe, over-broad. It invites abuse.
“Indeed, it is easy to imagine a future Democratic president using this statute to try to implement a radical, far-left agenda over the will of Congress and the American people. A President Warren could declare climate change a national emergency and try to suspend offshore drilling. A President Sanders could declare a national emergency in the Middle East and try to freeze the bank accounts of Americans who do business with Israel. And a President Sanders, or Warren, or some other avowed socialist, could try to reallocate billions of dollars, without the consent of Congress, to advance their socialist policies to address those and other so-called emergencies. That is why I am an original co-sponsor of Senator Lee’s ARTICLE ONE Act, which significantly narrows how these emergency powers can be used going forward. This bill would end any new national emergency if Congress does not approve it within 30 days. Combined with a thorough review of ongoing emergencies, this proposal would reduce the danger of an abuse of national emergency powers by any of the dozens of far-left candidates seeking the Democratic nomination.
“And I am grateful that the President announced today—at the urging of many of us—that he will support our efforts to reform this law, and guard against potential abuse by a lawless future president, Democrat or Republican.
“Yet while I support reforming the National Emergencies Act, that wasn’t what the Senate voted on today. Current law empowers the President to declare a national emergency and activate statutory emergency powers when he determines there is one, and Congress can then vote to determine whether or not an emergency exists. And make no mistake: an emergency absolutely exists on the border, and it is a national and humanitarian disaster.
“We cannot end this emergency without securing our southern border, and we cannot secure our border without building a wall.
“I support the President’s efforts to build the wall and secure our border. And I will continue to work with the President and my colleagues in Congress to reform our national emergency system and protect Congress’s Article I authority.
“But today’s question was whether there was an emergency at our southern border. There is, and I voted to recognize that tragic fact.”