Local News

Protest in Brea Against Trump’s “Emergency Declaration”

On President’s Day, February 18, around 200 people gathered at the busy intersection of State College and Imperial in Brea to protest President Trump’s declaration of a “State of Emergency” on our southern border and his attempt to use executive power to secure funds for his controversial border wall.

The Brea protestors joined thousands in cities across the nation who took to the streets to denounce Trump’s Feb. 15 declaration.

Photo by Christine Romer.

“We are here today in protest of abuse of power by this White House. Congress controls how money is spent—that’s the way it works, and we want to keep the separation of powers,” said Patricia Hanzo, from Indivisible CA-39, one of the organizers of the protest.

Barbara Johnson, from the First Congregational Church of Fullerton, said, “I totally disapprove of what our president is doing, declaring an emergency when it’s actually fake. And we know that he’s off playing golf or whatever he’s doing, so obviously it’s no big emergency to him.”

Johnson, and many of the other protestors, disputed Trump’s claims that building a wall would stop the flow of illegal drugs into the United States, or that illegal immigration is on the rise.

While it is true that a lot of illegal drugs do come into the United States through Mexico, the vast majority of dangerous drugs like heroin are smuggled through legal ports of entry, not in the areas that the wall would span, according to the DEA. You can read the report HERE (the relevant data is on pg. 19).

Regarding the numbers of undocumented immigrants, while it is true that border apprehensions rose from 2017-2018, these numbers are about half of what they were in 2005-2006, and numbers have been on a steady decline, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Check out that data HERE.

“Here’s what the wall will keep out: people who are fleeing extreme violence and extreme poverty in their homelands, trying to survive. The wall will kill them,” said Greg Frichle.

Frichle is not wrong. In the book Beyond Borders: A History of Mexican Migration to the United States, professor Timothy Henderson examines the effect of policies like 1994’s “Operation Gatekeeper,” which added more border fencing. This did not decrease border crossings. It did, however, increase one thing—deaths: “The average number of people who died trying to cross into the US roughly doubled after 1995,” writes Henderson.

Photo by Christine Romer

“A wall is not going to solve the problem. It’s just going to spend taxpayer’s money uselessly,” said Sharon Snyder.

This notion of spending taxpayer money on a wall, when the country faces other more pressing crises, was a theme of many of the protestors.

“We need infrastructure, we need to help the homeless, we need to help disaster relief. There are so many more important things to spend the money on than a wall,” said Ida Miller.

Sharon Speck, who is a nurse, said, “I’m against the wall. It’s a waste of money. The money could be better spend on feeding people, housing people, education, health care, a lot of things.”

Photo by Christine Romer

For other protestors, Trump’s rhetoric surrounding the wall smacks of racism.

“I’m Mexican. I’ve been here all my life, and this has been going on for a lot of years, this racism. And these racist policies are against people like me—I’m brown,” said Martha Delgado, who said she was happy that California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has filed a lawsuit against Trump’s emergency declaration.

As of Monday, the attorney generals of 16 states (Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Virginia) have joined the lawsuit, alleging that the Trump administration’s action violates the Constitution.

Across the street from those protesting Trump’s declaration, a smaller counter protest gathered, with people chanting, “Build the Wall! Build the Wall! Keep Out the Drugs! Deport them all!”

“The reason why I’m here, primarily, number one, is that, as a sovereign nation, we need our secure borders. Number two, the reason why I’m here is that since 9/11, over 61,000 of our countrymen, my countrymen, your countrymen, have been murdered by illegal aliens. That’s totally unacceptable,” said Bill Kezar.

It’s not just unacceptable. It’s also false. Also, according to a study by the CATO Institute in February of 2018, native-born citizens are more likely than immigrants, whether here legally or illegally, to be convicted of a crime.

Photo by Jesse La Tour

“We’re having an invasion, as you know,” said one counter-protestor, “And we would like the wall to be built.”

The large protest and smaller counter-protest continued throughout the afternoon with cars honking as they drove by, and the occasional argument.

“It’s President’s Day. Today we’re supposed to honor the Presidents who lead and serve us. This is not happening right now, and I wanted to be part of reminding him and everybody that we can do better,”  said Belle Sprague.

Photo by Jesse La Tour

For a video of the protest click HERE.

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7 replies »

  1. Interesting…I drove by around 3 and noticed maybe 20 people protesting against the Emergency yet on the other side of the street noticed atlesst 3 times that amount of counter protesters supporting it.

    • No, you did not “notice” that, since the protesters opposing the wall and fake emergency occupied three corners of the intersection, and the pro trump group with their megaphones numbered 15 to 20, and occupied one corner. In total, as in the article there were around 200 people. I did not drive by, I was there. You obviously, as you should have been, were paying attention to your driving, and less to those standing on corners. Thank you, Mike, for being a good driver and keeping others safe!

    • Mike, I missed a detail. You said you drove by at 3. The event ended at that time, it began at 1pm. So, you may have seen fewer anti-wall/fake emergency folks when the event had ended, no surprise. Still, there were not the numbers of pro trump people, you mention. Thanks again for good, safe driving.

      • I’m just saying what I observed at 3 so if it was ending at that time it makes sense. No need to be condescending. Have a nice day 😊

  2. Thank you, Fullerton Observer! I was at this event and thank you for reporting it accurately, and for explaining the serious issues involved regarding the ineffective wall, and false “emergency”. These are complex issues, but you made them easy to understand. You emphasized facts, and had links to more facts on the issues. I assume this is a fairly small paper, but great writing skill and informative, accurate article!

  3. Thank you Fullerton Observer for Informing us the far left intends to harm our citizens and legal immigrants with the open border. I am thankful that thousands passed through the intersection and saw both sides of the issue!

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