Oregon, Washington assess impacts of Trump's emergency declaration, wall funding plan
Officials in Oregon and Washington are assessing the impacts of President Donald Trump's declaration of a national emergency along the U.S.-Mexico border and his plan to fund a wall there.
Trump plans to spend $8 billion on the border wall project. Much of the funding will come from diverting money from elsewhere through executive actions.
One Pacific Northwest leader is already predicting a potentially major impact.
Trump is determined to build the barrier despite the fact that Congress came nowhere near giving him the $5.7 billion he demanded for it.
A senior White House official familiar with Trump's plan told ABC News that $1.375 billion dollars for it would come from the spending bill Congress passed Thursday; $600 million would come from the Treasury Department's drug forfeiture fund; $2.5 billion would come from the Pentagon's drug interdiction program; and through an emergency declaration: $3.5 billion from the Pentagon's military construction budget.
A spokeswoman for Gov. Jay Inslee, D-Washington, said that could sting. She sent KATU the following statement:
"Military bases across Washington rely on these resources to keep our country safe and our troops secure. These are projects that military leaders have deemed essential, and the president’s actions could harm the ability of service members to carry out their missions.
While we don’t fully know yet what the impacts will be, however we know that Washington state has important projects that could be impacted. We will not stand idly by as the president attempts to put a fake emergency above our brave men and women in uniform."
A spokeswoman for Gov. Kate Brown, D-Oregon, responded as well saying:
"The Governor’s Office is currently looking at potential impacts to Oregon. Governor Brown believes President Trump’s use of an emergency declaration to fund a vanity project is one more egregious step down a path to undermine our democracy. Governor Brown stands united with Oregonians and Americans across the country in denouncing this outrageous act."
And a spokeswoman for Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said, "We are reviewing everything right now. We are also working with other AG offices."
Trump said his decision to declare an emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border was not made because of a campaign promise.
"We're talking about an invasion of our country with drugs, with human traffickers, with all types of criminals and gangs," he said Friday during a news conference.
But claims of an invasion are not supported by his own administration. The U.S. Border Patrol says it apprehended 396,579 people at the southwest border in fiscal year 2018. That's less than a quarter of the 1,643,679 people apprehended in the year apprehensions peaked in fiscal year 2000.
Using U.S. Border Patrol statistics USA Today says 90 percent of heroin seized along the border, 88 percent of cocaine, 87 percent of methamphetamine, and 80 percent of fentanyl in the first 11 months of fiscal year 2018 was caught in smuggling attempts at legal crossing points.
The Center for Migration Studies of New York found that from 2016-2017, people who overstayed their visas accounted for 62 percent of new undocumented immigrants and the rest had crossed a border illegally.
Four academic studies show that illegal immigration does not increase the prevalence of violent crime or drug and alcohol problems. The studies were conducted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin, Purdue University, the Libertarian Cato Institute and the University of Texas among other institutions.
In January, Oregon's Department of Corrections said 910 of Oregon's inmates (6.2 percent) were on a hold from ICE, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. And the DOC said 50.2 percent of them were in prison for sex crimes including sex abuse (200 cases), rape (175 cases) and sodomy (101 cases). The agency said 132 illegal immigrants are in prison for homicide.
The latest statistics from the Pew Research Center, a non-partisan think tank, show there are about 130,000 undocumented immigrants in Oregon. The group says they make up 3.2 percent of the state's population and that their numbers peaked nationwide in 2007.