Around 10 protesters marched Monday afternoon around Grayson County Courthouse in opposition to President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency along the country’s southern border. The declaration came after Congress passed a bipartisan funding bill that did not include $5.7 billion Trump requested for a security wall along the Mexican border.
The move by the president could allow him to divert funds from other purposes in order to build the border wall, which was a major pledge during his 2016 presidential campaign. During the emergency declaration announcement Friday, Trump claimed the need for the wall stemmed from a security emergency related to illegal immigration.
“The fence is not the way,” protest organizer Barbara Rush said Monday. “It is not a defense against anything.”
The protesters marched around the courthouse once carrying signs decrying Trump’s immigration policies, including the separation of children from their parents and the denial of asylum seekers at the border. The brief protest, which lasted less than half an hour, was organized by local representatives for Move On, the Grayson County Democratic Party and Indivisible Sherman.
The protest also brought out a small number of counter protesters that expressed support for the president’s actions. Members of that group declined the Herald Democrat’s request for comment.
The spending bill that was approved by Congress includes $1.4 billion in funding for border barriers, the Associated Press reported. With the declaration, Trump announced he will be spending nearly $8 billion on border barriers. The additional funds will likely come from counter-drug and military construction funding, the AP reported.
Rush said one of the issues with the emergency declaration is that it subverts the checks and balances placed on the three branches of government in the constitution. Generally, the responsibility for funding and budgeting falls on Congress, she said.
“President Trump took an oath to uphold the constitution,” Rush said, going on to state his actions subvert that pledge.
Through the protest, Rush said she hoped to get word out to the public and encourage people to contact their local representatives in support of bills against the emergency declaration.
While many of the protesters expressed concern on the effects the wall would have on immigrants to the country, Adrian Hinman opposes the project from an ecological standpoint.
“For me, it is not just immigration that would be an issue with this emergency,” Hinman said.
Hinman said there are nearly 100 endangered or threatened species that live along the southern border that could be impacted by a physical barrier.
Beyond the ecological concern, Hinman said the wall would do nothing to solve the immigration problems related to people who come into the country legally through visa programs and stay after the period has expired.