There has been much chatter about President Donald Trump’s invocation of emergency powers on Feb. 15. However, many seem to have a plethora of unanswered questions as to what that is, what it means, or even if he really has the right to do so.
Trump declared a state of national emergency on the border with Mexico as a way to access billions of dollars to build his wall, after Congress refused to abide by his wishes. It is in his authority to declare a national emergency, which boosts his executive powers and bypasses due process for a prompter reaction to a pressing issue.
The reasoning behind this announcement, in the president’s view, is because the flow of drugs, criminals and criminal activities, and illegal immigrants from Mexico have become an extreme and immediate threat to national security.
We have a State of Emergency at our Southern Border. Border Patrol, our Military and local Law Enforcement are doing a great job, but without the Wall, which is now under major construction, you cannot have Border Security. Drugs, Gangs and Human Trafficking must be stopped!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2019
However, the president also said, “I didn’t need to do this, but I’d rather do it much faster.”
This account bids the question: How is it an emergency, but not really needed promptly?
According to The New York Times, “the number of people crossing the border unlawfully is far down from its peak nearly two decades ago. The recent caravans from Central America primarily consist of migrants who are not trying to sneak across the border but instead are presenting themselves to border officials and requesting asylum.”
And while Trump has claimed that terrorists come to the United States through the border by the thousands, “as a matter of empirical reality, there has been no such instance in the modern era.”
If you are questioning the president on this decision, you are not alone.
In fact, as soon as he came out with this speech, Democrats voiced their concerns heatedly and vowed to flip his decision. They were also not the only ones to see the declaration as an unconstitutional abuse of presidential authority; there are some Republicans that are irritated by it as well.
Anyone directly affected by the order can challenge it in court.
Now, Trump is being sued by 16 states (and counting), because many argue that this “emergency” is not pressing at all, and that it will do more harm than good. Many believe his ego is involved, and that he cannot find any other way of appeasing his constituents on a promise he made to get himself elected.
His wall has even been nicknamed the “vanity wall” and “vanity project” by Gov. Gavin Newsom of California. The House Democrats are also introducing legislation that should block Trump’s demands.
As I predicted, 16 states, led mostly by Open Border Democrats and the Radical Left, have filed a lawsuit in, of course, the 9th Circuit! California, the state that has wasted billions of dollars on their out of control Fast Train, with no hope of completion, seems in charge!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 19, 2019
And where will the money to build the wall come from? Not Mexico.
Through this emergency declaration, according to White House officials and The New York Times, Trump will divert $3.6 billion from military construction projects, $2.5 billion from counter-narcotics programs, $600 million from a Treasury Department asset forfeiture fund, and $1.375 billion that was authorized for fencing at the border before the statement came out.
Altogether, that is $2.3 billion more than he had originally demanded from Congress.
What gives Trump the right? Have presidents done this kind of thing in the past?
The National Emergencies Act was passed in 1976 after Watergate and the Vietnam War. It created a clear set of rules and procedures the president would have to follow in order to responsibly use his or her emergency powers.
Congress can overrule the declaration; the House has passed a resolution, but must now convince the Senate to do so. If Trump vetoes the legislation, Congress would have to override the veto as well.
So far, the United States has declared 58 national emergencies, with 31 still in effect, according to The Washington Post. This one is different, however, since the matter at hand is not new to us.
Illegal immigration has long been an issue, and unlike all the precedents in this regard, our president has chosen to take this action after a failed attempt to persuade Congress to do what he wanted through the regular appropriations process.
Trump had foreseen that people would not be pleased with his declaration and even knew he would be sued. He chose to go forward with this anyways, which shows true desperation.
BUILDING THE WALL!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2019
Congress didn’t allow him to spend money on an ineffective wall, so he found another way to raise funds through procedure for his personal gain. It is politically irresponsible and a shame for the United States.
As many lawmakers exemplified, there are more pressing matters in need of money and attention that have been completely overlooked and overshadowed, that could also been seen as “emergencies” by Trump standards.
It is now up to Congress to work together to topple this atrocious decision made by a power grasping businessman. We can only hope Republicans and Democrats can work together despite their differences so true democracy can thrive and be restored in these United States.