Trump's Border Wall “Emergency” Fake, Center for Constitutional Rights Says

Japanese Internment, Warrantless Wiretapping Were Comparable Abuses of Emergency Powers

February 15, 2019, New York – In response to Donald Trump’s invocation today of emergency executive power to build a wall on the southern border, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement:

Trump’s power grab to build his pet wall violates the separation of powers, but, more to the point, there is no emergency. Attempted border crossings are at 40-year lows; the exclusion of migrants at the southern border is not because of any emergency, it is because of racism.

The real emergency is a petulant president invoking easily-abused powers intended for use during events like natural disasters and civil wars because he could not get his way legislatively. Like the internment of Japanese-Americans and Bush-era warrantless wiretapping—also undertaken pursuant to emergency executive power—history will condemn Donald Trump for abusing his power. This will, as emergency powers always have, devastate already vulnerable communities.

And neither the president's forces nor the president's pen will help to restore our values again.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is fighting two cases challenging the Trump administration’s policies and practices at the Southern Border, Al Otro Lado v. Nielsen with American Immigration Council (AIC), Latham & Watkins LLP, and the Southern Poverty Law Center; and East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Trump with the ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center. The Center for Constitutional Rights has a long history of challenging executive overreach.

The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at


Last modified 

February 15, 2019