Scott Young, Staff Writer
Last Friday, President Trump declared a national emergency to unilaterally grant himself $8 billion to build a wall at the Southern border. The declaration opens up the possibility for future presidents to make more political declarations and abuse the powers granted to them.
The National Emergencies Act was passed in 1976 to allow the President to declare a national emergency in times of crisis and to allocate funds from other sectors of government. The Act is traditionally used for actual crises such as the September 11 attacks or sanctions against countries that pose a security risk to our country.
If Trump’s border wall is such a national emergency, why did he wait two years after his presidency began to start searching for border wall funds? Why wasn’t this a priority from day one? That’s because it’s not an emergency. Only in Trump’s alternate universe is it an emergency.
You’re probably asking me now: “But Scott, immigrants are POURING into this country at an alarming rate and bringing drugs into the United States. Why isn’t that a national emergency?”
Fair question. Let’s take a look at the facts:
1) Illegal border crossings are at an all time low. According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the number of illegal border apprehensions have been on a downward trend for the past 19 years and has reached a whopping 46-year low. A ‘national emergency’ should indicate some sort of crisis that is out of control and getting worse, but the statistics from Trump’s own CBP show that it’s actually been improving for some time.
2) Most drugs come through ports of entry. The Drug Enforcement Agency’s 2018 Drug Threat Assessment found that the primary mode of entry for drug trafficking takes place at LEGAL ports of entry, not the large swaths of land that the proposed border wall would cover. If we want to tackle the issue of drug trafficking, then we need to invest in more drug detection technology at our ports of entry and toughen up searches, not build a wall.
3) Donald Trump himself said he didn’t need to declare an emergency. During Trump’s declaration statement, he said, “I could do the wall over a longer period of time. I didn’t need to do this.” This completely tears apart his entire argument that this is a national emergency. A real national emergency carries with it a sense of urgency and immediate danger, and in Trump’s own words, this declaration didn’t have to happen.
4) There are more effective ways to secure the border. There’s a reason that border apprehensions are so low. It’s because the border is already well defended. In 2013, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act was signed into law which doubled the amount of fencing, increased the number of border agents, created an employment verification system, and funded more surveillance technology at the border. We are living in the 21st century and I think Trump has missed that memo. There are more technological and modern solutions to the problems we face that we should take advantage of to secure the border.
This national emergency declaration proves that Donald Trump and many in his party are hypocrites. If you remember during Barack Obama’s presidency, the Republicans went after Obama feverishly for what they described as ‘presidential overreach’ when Obama granted legal status to millions of illegal immigrants.
Even Trump criticized Obama for taking unilateral action. This tweet from 2014 hasn’t aged very well:
The ‘national emergency’ is just another example of Trump’s inability to connect with reality and comprehend fact-based evidence. Trump has normalized circus politics and spewing false information, so it’s more important now than ever to never take political issues at face value and if you feel strongly about a political issue, do your civic duty by making sure to do the research to back it up.