US Senate votes to end Donald Trump's national emergency at border

In a surprise move, the Senate has voted to end President Trump's declaration of a national emergency at the US-Mexico border. Trump has vowed to veto the move, with Congress lacking a majority to override him.

The Republican-controlled Senate has voted to terminate US President Donald Trump's declaration of a national emergency on the border with Mexico — a move he implemented in order to secure funds for a controversial border wall.

The vote in the upper chamber of the US Congress was 59 to 41 — with 12 Senate Republicans joining the Democrats to pass the resolution. The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives already passed the resolution in February.

Trump quickly responded to the vote on Twitter, writing one word: "VETO!"

The president previously vowed to veto the measure if it passed both chambers of Congress. Despite Republicans crossing party lines to rebuke Trump, it's unlikely that the US Congress has the two-thirds majority needed to override his decision.

In all probability, the national emergency issue will be ultimately decided by the courts — with two Trump-appointed judges currently sitting on the Supreme Court.

Republicans rebuke Trump

Republicans who voted to end Trump's national emergency at the US southern border said they were worried that future presidents could use the tactic to bypass Congress in order to secure funding for their projects.

In an attempt to sway his fellow Republicans ahead of the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell argued that Trump was "operating within existing law." If lawmakers did not like the presidential powers currently granted under the National Emergencies Act, "then they should amend it," he said.

Thursday's vote was the second Senate defeat for Trump this week after lawmakers voted to end US support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in the war in Yemen — rejecting Trump's policy toward the kingdom.

It was also the first time that Congress voted to block a presidential emergency since the National Emergencies Act became law in 1976.

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DW News | 04.02.2019

Arizona locals give their perspective on border security

Trump's push for a border wall

Trump declared a national emergency on the US southern border in February, after he failed to secure an additional $3.9 billion from Congress to fund a border wall with Mexico — a barrier he'd previously said Mexico would pay for.

The president's budget standoff with Congress led to a 35-day partial government shutdown which ended in January.

Trump has justified declaring an emergency by saying there is a security and humanitarian crisis at the border with Mexico and that a barrier is needed to curb illegal immigration and drug trafficking. Building a border wall was also one of his main campaign promises and one that is likely to reappear during his 2020 re-election campaign.

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Opponents of Trump's immigration policies and border wall project argue there isn't an emergency at the border and that illegal crossings are at a four-decade low.

Central American immigrants turn to Mexico

No longer first choice

In a migrant shelter in the southern Mexican city of Tenosique, near the Guatemalan border, a refugee from Honduras says he originally planned to move to the United States with his family. Trump's election has changed everything. "I wanted to go to the United States with my family, but we've seen that the new government there has made things harder."

Central American immigrants turn to Mexico

Lingering in Mexico

Concepcion Bautista from Guatemala cradles her newborn son in the same migrant shelter. She says she plans to head for the United States, but will linger in Mexico to see how US President Donald Trump's immigration policies play out. Her goal is to reunite with her family up north...

Central American immigrants turn to Mexico

A mere transit country?

…but for the time being, she believes applying for asylum in Mexico is a smarter move. Mexican asylum data and testimony from migrants in Tenosique suggest that although fewer Central Americans are trying to enter the US, plenty are still fleeing their poor, violent home countries, with many deciding to stay longer in Mexico, which has traditionally been a transit country.

Central American immigrants turn to Mexico

Tough immigration policies

The Trump administration has pointed out a sharp decline in immigrant detentions in the first few months of this year as a vindication for the president's tough immigration policies. The measures are already having another effect. In California, where farmers usually rely on workers from Mexico to bring in the harvest, many Mexicans are staying away, preferring to find work in their own country.

Central American immigrants turn to Mexico

Asylum applications on the rise

Migrants from Central America play football in the migrant shelter in Tenosique. The number of people applying for asylum in Mexico has soared by more than 150 percent since Trump was elected president. These days, Mexican immigrants would rather set up in Canada than the United States.

Central American immigrants turn to Mexico

Human smugglers up the price

One man from Guatemala says the prices charged by people smugglers have risen sharply since Trump took office, now hovering around $10,000 (9,100 euros), up from about $6,000 a few years ago. Migrants sit below a mural in Mexico with the words: "Our demand is minimal: justice."

Central American immigrants turn to Mexico

A new home

With Mexico's immigration authorities controlling migration more assiduously, Central Americans were forced to take more isolated, dangerous routes where the chances of being mugged were higher. "We've gone north several times, but every time it's got harder," says one man, who was deported from the United States in December. "Now, it's better if we travel alone, along new routes."

rs/jm (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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