It’s been a long two years since President Trump’s first “emergency” – which was the so-called “Muslim Ban.” Thousands of people responded immediately across the country, headed to major airports to protest and provide support for the people coming in that might be stopped on their entry into the United States.
I was at JFK for NationofChange as several thousand New Yorkers rallied outside of the international terminal and lawyers worked with people inside. It was a great moment of activism and a great moment to be an American – it showed that people in this country would show up on a moments notice and say “No,” when their government overreached.
As I said, it’s been a long two years. Since then we’ve had dozens of marches. Scientists. Environmentalists. Anti-War. Pro-Choice. Trump has made people mobilized that would never have signed an online petition before. If there’s anything President Trump has done good for America, it’s made people start paying attention who never ‘showed up’ before.
Four days ago, as I write this, Trump once again created a moment for Americans to come out into the streets and tell him “Hell No.” He made a proclamation that there was a “National Emergency Concerning the Southern Border of the United States.” Across the country within three days, 50,000 people showed up at rallies organized by MoveOn.org, United We Dream, Indivisible, PFAW, CPD, SEIU, AFT, AFSCME, NEA, Sierra Club, ResistBot among others. The ACLU and many other organizations have already opened lawsuits to stop the Presidents unsubstantiated emergency.
Border crossings are at a long time low. Immigrants commit crimes at a rate substantially lower than citizens that were born here. There is no emergency. But no one outside of professional racist scam artist Kris Kobach and his friends believes that there is.
Robert Weissman of Public Citizen in his speech to the hundreds of people who attended Monday’s rally in Lafayette Square in front of the White House declared what the real emergency happening in this country is.
“The emergency is, he will do anything – he does not care about our democracy, he does not care about our constitution… he will do anything to advance his own narrow agenda. Which is often about his own re-election or making money for the Trump organization. So our country is actually under attack.”
That was the common theme of the people that spoke at the Fake National Emergency protests – from threats on immigrants, threats to the environment, the war in Yemen – people spoke of true emergencies that are happening in the world.
Currently, there are 16 states filing lawsuits against Trump’s emergency declaration, many NGO’s have filed their own or joined via amicus briefs. Even environmental groups like the Center for Biological Diversity have filed their own suits.
The human cost of not only Trumps emergency declaration but his entire anti-immigrant administration can’t be overstated. I spoke to Arlette Morales who is a Dreamer and told me why she showed up at the rally and spoke.
“It’s a point of action for me because I’m here for a better education for me well, I’m here for a better future from me and I’m here to just fight for my family. I’m here to fight for the people who are going through the same things. I’m going through who are in my shoes and, I’m just here because this battle won’t be won if there’s no one fighting.”
She turned 15 when Trump broke DACA to use as a pawn in his fight for a border well. Two years on she’s still waiting for a decision on what her future will be.
“We’re still waiting and my future, it’s just, I don’t know what’s going to happen. So there’s a fear.”
And that’s the point. The fear. To build fear in his voters of this supposed incoming tide of rapists and murderers and to build fear in the hopeful immigrants who just simply want a better future for themselves and their children. Only time will tell how this battle will play out.