Jorge Barón, the executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, joined Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear Tuesday to discuss the Trump administration's potential expansion of executive authority.
"The president continues to say things that are simply not true, and unfortunately, he has been able to get away with some of these things. The question is whether the country is going to start pushing back… this is just another attempt at [Trump] trying to use falsehoods to pursue policy," Barón told hosts John Kiriakou and Brian Becker.
Multiple United States federal government departments and agencies have been closed since Congress refused to throw its support behind a bill to satisfy Trump's $5.6 billion demand for a border wall with Mexico — or even a "steel barrier."
"I can do it, if I want," Trump told reporters Friday at the White House. "We can call a national emergency because of the security of our country. We can do it. I haven't done it. I may do it."
Just a couple days later, Trump repeated the same notion.
"We're looking at a national emergency because we have a national emergency," he told reporters. "… We have a crisis at the border… it is national security; it's a national emergency."
According to Barón, there is an emergency, but it has been created by the Trump administration itself.
"There is a crisis that the president and his administration have created, and it's a humanitarian crisis of the people at the southern border whom are seeking asylum. There are people that are trying to turn themselves in and seek protection in the US," Barón told Sputnik.
"The president has created a humanitarian crisis, and now he's using those sort of images that there's a problem at the border but conflating it with terrorism and drug trafficking, which are not going to be addressed by the border wall, first of all, and is not as serious an issue as the president is claiming," Barón noted.
"The State Department has conclusively said that there is no evidence of anybody who is an actual terrorist coming across the southern border," Kiriakou chimed in.
"The Brennan Center issued a report on Friday saying that fully 58 percent of people who are in the country illegally are people who have overstayed their visas. Most of them are Canadians and Europeans. That's 58 percent. A wall is not going to do anything to keep them out of the country or get them out of the country," Kiriakou added.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has stated that House Democrats are planning to pass a number of individual appropriation bills in the upcoming week to enable the opening of certain government agencies, such as the IRS and the Treasury Department, without resolving Trump's core demand that led to the shutdown.