STATEMENT: Presidential Veto Undermines Constitutional Balance of Powers, Will of the People
For Immediate Release:
March 15, 2019
BALTIMORE—Today’s veto circumvents Congressional authority after Congress passed a bi-partisan spending bill in February with little funding for the wall.
“The message is crystal clear: Congress is not comfortable funding the border wall with American taxpayers’ dollars. A militarized response to a humanitarian crisis is just not what Congress supports.” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President and CEO of LIRS (Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service). “We strongly believe a concrete structure will not offer the solutions that we need to fix our immigration system.”
Having worked closely with local partners and migrants along the border, LIRS knows firsthand the desperation that is driving individuals to seek asylum in the United States.
“If we build a wall, people will find a way to go over, under, through, and around,” said Vignarajah. “Because for many of these individuals and families, life in the U.S. is the only chance of survival.”
Meanwhile, the focus on building a wall has exacerbated the neglect of the infrastructure needed to support basic immigration processes. And at current levels of immigration, the need is spilling over to create an unwieldy and precarious situation at our border.
“All we can do is continue to advocate for practical, compassionate immigration reform,” said Vignarajah. “With the latest spending bill, Congress proved that they could deliver bi-partisan solutions that addressed the humanitarian crisis at the border while shoring up security measures. As long as the President lets Congress do their job, there is hope that we can make some progress at the border. But if he continues to undermine their authority through use of executive power, we may have a long fight ahead of us.”
Founded in 1939, LIRS (Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service) is one of the largest refugee resettlement agencies in the United States. It is nationally recognized for its leadership advocating with refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration and other vulnerable populations. Through more than 75 years of service and advocacy, LIRS has helped over 500,000 migrants and refugees rebuild their lives in America.