White House asked Democratic El Paso mayor not to declare migrant state of emergency: report
A top aide to President Donald Trump told members of his administration not to declare a state of emergency in the El Paso area, in an apparent attempt to stifle the influx of migrants from Central America at the U.S.-Mexico border and push up voter turnout in the presidential election on Nov. 8, according to a report from The Washington Post.
“The president does not want to do this,” Sebastian Gorka, a deputy assistant to the president, told top administration officials about not declaring a national emergency, according to the Post.
According to Gorka, in the past they advised him not to declare a national emergency because it would create another legal obstacle for Trump’s agenda, and would not advance his policy goals.
“That is not what happened here,” Gorka told the other officials who responded to the request from Stephen Miller, the White House senior policy adviser, the Post reported.
“I would hate for El Paso to be in the middle of that,” Gorka added, according to the report.
Democrats have repeatedly blasted Trump for politicizing the humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, particularly over their push to increase funding toward barriers to combat asylum-seekers at the Southern border.
The request came in an email from Miller to White House legislative affairs director Marc Short on Aug. 21, the day before the midterm elections. Miller, who has been pushing for greater border security, suggested that declaring a state of emergency for the border would help advance that agenda.
“El Paso is the front line of the crisis at the border,” Miller wrote, according to the report from the Daily Beast. “Declaring a National Emergency is a reasonable alternative that would provide important long-term solutions.”
“This is clearly not a state of