House leader says ‘no justification’ for emergency declaration during border visit

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SAN DIEGO -- A delegation of Democratic Southern California lawmakers hosted House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer at the San Yisidro Port of Entry Friday.

The visit came in the wake of President Donald Trump's emergency declaration to secure funding for a long-promised border wall.

“There is no justification for an emergency declaration at the border," Hoyer said during the visit. "There is no justification to make an end run around the Congress of the United States that has made a judgement as to what we need to forward our border security."

In arguing for the declaration, Trump has said unlocking billions for a border wall was essential to stemming “an invasion of our country with drugs, with human traffickers, with all types of criminals and gangs.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other leading Republicans have supported the declaration.

The four Democratic legislators praised Border and Customs officials during their tour, but called into question the recent practice of turning asylum-seekers back to Tijuana to wait out their US asylum cases.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate, especially for women and children, to be sent (back) with the level of violence in Tijuana,” said Juan Vargas, from the 51st district.

The Democrats categorically refuted the president's claim that there is a crisis at the border and said they are prepared to fight the emergency declaration. The delegation said they hoped their firsthand look will provide a broader view of current conditions of the border.

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