By Hannah Ballerstedt
President Donald Trump declared a national state of emergency about the border separating Mexico and The United States on Feb. 15. This decision intends to help his administration access billions of dollars to fund a border wall. Previously, Congress refused to give him this money.
President Trumps declaration is shifting a policy disagreement into a debate over the separation of powers defined by the Constitution. He claimed that the drugs, criminals and illegal immigrants coming in from Mexico are a threat to national security and therefore makes a state of emergency justified
In opposition of Trumps claims and the state of emergency, about 100 people gathered at Federal Plaza for the “Emergency Protest: Stop Trump’s Power Grab” Monday, Feb. 18 from about 12 p.m. until 1 p.m. Indivisible Chicago hosted the protest along with other supporting organizers and sponsors such as the ACLU of Illinois and The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
Many demonstrators from Refuse Fascism also came to the event. Marge Parsons, one of the organizers with Refuse Fascism, said that the group thinks that, “the Trump regime itself and its fascist agenda are the emergency, including what they’re doing on the border. Declaring a national emergency gives them much greater powers.” She said that the administration’s ideas about immigration are “genocidal.” “This is an emergency for humanity,” Parsons added.
Other protestors seemed to feel the same way. They held signs which expressed their frustrations with the decisions made in the White House. Statements such as “respect the constitution,” and “save America,” were visible. One mans poster read “#45 is the national emergency,” referring to President Trump.
Roosevelt student Marissa Minnick said, “I came to this protest because I have been feeling so exhausted by media coverage and response to Trump’s declaration. I genuinely feel helpless and drained by the complacency and the hypocrisy and the shifting and bending of rules and narratives for partisan reasons.”
When asked about her opposition to the state of emergency, Minnick said “it’s ridiculous, it indicates a complete lack of regard for the true nature of emergencies. Immigration is not increasing and is not posing a threat to human life, he knows that, and he has said it out loud.”
Minnick feels that Roosevelt professors generally encourage students, “to protest and to hold opinions and be critical and experience acts of opposition,” but sometimes notices a lack in student involvement in social justice efforts, “that are not arranged by the university itself.” Nonetheless, Minnick said that, “being present and being visible as an ally and as a protest just adds weight to the idea that there is support coming from all types of people, and people in large numbers.”
Taylor Chamberlain, another Roosevelt student at the protest said that going to school has kept her interested in social justice. “It introduced me to issues i had never really had any knowledge of prior,” Chamberlain said.
In regards to the atmosphere of the protest, Chamberlain said, “everyone was showing up to be among people who agreed with them and to show they really cared about the cause.”