BOCC: Trump wall is ‘existential threat to Constitution’
Pitkin County commissioners condemned President Donald Trump’s decision to try to build a border wall without Congressional consent, according to a letter to Colorado’s congressional delegation approved by the board Tuesday.
“Pitkin County generally does not agree with the current administration’s approach to immigration, however, these differences are not the basis of this request,” the letter states. “Rather we see Executive Order 13767 as an existential threat to the Constitution and the constitutional republic it created.”
The letter is addressed to Colorado Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner and all seven representatives to the House, and urges them to vote to overturn Trump’s Executive Order 13767 “to uphold their oath to protect the Constitution, and our unique experiment in self-government.”
That order, signed in January 2017, directs the wall to be built on the U.S.-Mexican border. Trump announced Feb. 15 he was declaring a national emergency over the situation at the border and would redirect billions to construct the wall after Congress refused his demand to fund the wall.
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The impasse over Trump’s demand for more than $5 billion caused the longest government shutdown in history. Trump’s executive order for the wall “is clearly an unconstitutional usurpation of the power of the purse by the executive branch from the legislative branch,” the Pitkin County letter states.
“It would be an ironic tragedy if a Republican president were allowed to so violate our unique system of checks and balances (while) our 230-year-old constitutional republic incrementally slips away for present-day political expediency,” according to the letter signed by board Chairman Greg Poschman.
The letter cites Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution, which gives the legislative branch the power of the purse, as well as James Madison in Federalist Paper No. 51 who said “the executive shall never exercise the legislative and judicial powers.”
“When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person or body … there can be no liberty,” the letter quotes Federalist Paper No. 47.
Trump has brought the country to a crossroads predicted by Benjamin Franklin, the letter states.
“(As) he left Independence Hall on the final days deliberating the new Constitution … a lady asked Dr. Franklin, ‘Well, doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?’” the letter states.
“A republic,” replied Franklin, “if you can keep it.”
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Wayne Hall took a job as an air traffic controller at the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport in 2003 thinking he would stay for a short time. Instead he stayed for nearly 17 years and was promoted up to the position of air traffic manager. He reflected on the experience upon retirement.