White House asked Democratic El Paso mayor not to declare migrant state of emergency: report
John M. Glionna/AP
The White House asked Democratic El Paso Mayor Dee Margo on Tuesday not to declare a state of emergency during a period of ongoing border unrest, despite his city’s decision to withhold a $1.5 million grant money to help pay for the border security measures being demanded by the Trump administration.
“The president has said he wants to use the emergency declaration, but we need to be clear that it doesn’t mean there will be militarized enforcement,” said El Paso Mayor Dee Margo on Tuesday.
According to documents obtained by The Associated Press Tuesday, the White House’s National Security Council was informed in writing by Margo on Tuesday that the request could not be considered — an intervention that was not publicly known.
The documents were provided to AP by three senior advisers, including the homeland security adviser, Susan Rice, who spoke to the council on Monday.
The council was considering issuing a national emergency declaration, said two White House aides who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
White House adviser Jared Kushner and adviser Stephen Miller were briefed on the deliberations and a decision was expected in coming days, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
“The request from the city of El Paso to the National Guard is not a national security matter,” she said. “The president has repeatedly called for border security, including using the National Guard to secure the border.”
The move was prompted by the decision last week by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to suspend grants to El Paso, and other cities, until federal officials can complete new and long-delayed audits of the state and local detention facilities the federal government has been using for border crossers.
In the wake of that decision, city leaders were told by officials from USCIS on Monday that they would be permitted to withhold $1.5 million from the DHS grant and $800,000 in the city’s local bond fund to pay for the new measures, said city officials