What is an emergency? More so what is a national emergency? The President recently declared a national emergency to access congressionally approved funds that were allocated for different departments. He did this as a workaround to get the money he wants for the continued construction of the southern border barrier that Democrats now deem unnecessary and immoral. For more on that topic read my post Wall or No Wall; it will explain the battle over the wall more clearly.
Like always, the way to understand any situation is to first clearly define it. Here is the definition of national emergency from Duhaime’s Law Dictionary: A situation beyond the ordinary which threatens the health or safety of citizens and which cannot be properly addressed by the use of other law. In the United States, powers were interpreted from constitutional documents to vest in the President to declare a national emergency.
A simple search of this topic shows 58 national emergencies have been declared since President Gerald Ford signed the National Emergency Act of 1976 into law. 31 have been renewed annually and are currently still in effect as listed by the Federal Register. Here is a list of all the declared national emergencies, ended and current.
So what is the national emergency on the southern border that President Trump states are causing a crisis and that his opponents across the aisle and many in the media are deeming a manufactured crisis/campaign promise? Was building the wall a campaign promise? Absolutely! Did the President say Mexico was going to pay for it? Absolutely! Is the southern border “a major entry point for criminals, gang members, and illicit narcotics” as the President stated for the basis of his national emergency declaration? Absolutely!
When the President announced the national emergency he said he didn’t need to do it but didn’t want to wait. If you take his words at face value you might be inclined to say he declared the national emergency because he couldn’t get the money he wanted to build the amount of wall he was looking for. That’s a fair criticism. Saying it’s a ‘vanity project’ as some of his detractors have said and that a wall is immoral and unnecessary is baseless and naïve, to say the least.
To say that drug cartels are not smuggling narcotics and illegal immigrants in between our ports of entry is a lie, plain and simple. With organized caravans coming from Central America and Mexico by the thousands, having a strong presence on the entire border is essential. With limited personnel and resources, having a border barrier that pushes migrants to official ports of entry to claim asylum is not only practical, it is also humane.
What makes Donald Trump different from past Presidents is that he takes action. He does not believe in making promises that he will not do everything he can to keep. Most politicians blame the opposition and not getting enough votes in the House or Senate for not getting things done. Trump declared a national emergency on the southern border because it is a national emergency. It was an emergency when the Secure Fence Act was signed into law authorizing the construction of a border barrier across our southern border in 2006. It was an emergency when Congress and President Reagan signed the Immigration and Reform Act in 1986. It will continue to be an emergency many years from now unless and until politicians stop playing politics with our national security.
What defines a leader? Well, Vocabulary.com states: a leader is the one in charge, the person who convinces other people to follow. A great leader inspires confidence in other people and moves them to action.
For all of his character flaws and grandiose statements, Trump is a leader. His current job title is the leader of the free world. He as he has stated many times will always put America first. Seeing a generational problem of porous borders that allow the illegal flow of narcotics and human smuggling into our country and labeling it a crisis is the definition of national emergency. Constructing a wall will not stop that problem completely and may only act as a deterrence. Keeping the status quo of blaming the other side and doing nothing is the reason we are still having this debate. It’s Einstein’s definition of insanity.
Great change requires decisive action. Making decisions that are unpopular to some and that face tremendous opposition from many is the hallmark of a great leader. Having the courage to do what’s right for the country and calling a crisis an emergency that needs to be dealt with immediately is what makes Trump the President. If he is able to fulfill his campaign promise of building a wall along the southern border and reduce the flow of narcotics and illegal migration he will have done what so many administrations before him failed to do; their job!