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I am returning herewith without my approval S.J. Res. 54, a joint resolution that would terminate the national emergency I declared in Proclamation 9844 of February 15, 2019, pursuant to the National Emergencies Act, regarding the ongoing crisis on our southern border.  I am doing so for the same reasons I returned an identical resolution, H.J. Res. 46, to the House of Representatives without my approval on March 15, 2019.

Proclamation 9844 has helped the Federal Government address the national emergency on our southern border.  It has empowered my Administration’s Government-wide strategy to counter large-scale unlawful migration and to respond to corresponding humanitarian challenges through focused application of every Constitutional and statutory authority at our disposal.  It has also facilitated the military’s ongoing construction of virtually insurmountable physical barriers along hundreds of miles of our southern border.

The southern border, however, continues to be a major entry point for criminals, gang members, and illicit narcotics to come into our country.  As explained in Proclamation 9844, in my veto message regarding H.J. Res. 46, and in congressional testimony from multiple Administration officials, the ongoing crisis at the southern border threatens core national security interests.  In addition, security challenges at the southern border exacerbate an ongoing humanitarian crisis that threatens the well-being of vulnerable populations, including women and children.

In short, the situation on our southern border remains a national emergency, and our Armed Forces are still needed to help confront it.

Like H.J. Res. 46, S.J. Res. 54 would undermine the Government’s ability to address this continuing national emergency.  It would, among other things, impair the Government’s capacity to secure the Nation’s southern borders against unlawful entry and to curb the trafficking and smuggling that fuels the present humanitarian crisis.

S.J. Res. 54 is also inconsistent with other recent congressional actions.  For example, the Congress, in an overwhelmingly bipartisan manner, has provided emergency resources to address the crisis at the southern border.  Additionally, the Congress has approved a budget framework that expressly preserves the emergency authorities my Administration is using to address the crisis.

Proclamation 9844 was neither a new nor novel application of executive authority.  Rather, it is the sixtieth Presidential invocation of the National Emergencies Act of 1976.  It relies upon the same statutory authority used by both of the previous two Presidents to undertake more than 18 different military construction projects from 2001 through 2013.  And it has withstood judicial challenge in the Supreme Court.

Earlier this year, I vetoed H.J. Res. 46 because it was a dangerous resolution that would undermine United States sovereignty and threaten the lives and safety of countless Americans.  It was, therefore, my duty to return it to the House of Representatives without my approval.  It is similarly my duty, in order to protect the safety and security of our Nation, to return S.J. Res. 54 to the Senate without my approval.


October 15, 2019.