Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

President Trump’s justification for a national emergency is not good enough

This can set a bad precedent
(Courtesy of Donald J. Trump’s official facebook page)

President Trump’s promises to build a wall along the Southern border have been coming ever since his presidential campaign. After a difficult battle with Congress over funding for the wall, Trump has now taken significant strides by declaring a national emergency. He justified his actions by attesting that the flow of drugs and crime, along with illegal immigration, pose a threat to national security.

According to the National Emergencies Act of 1976, President Trump has the constitutional authority to declare a national emergency during a national crisis. However, his authority to declare a national emergency for a border wall does not necessarily make it the best political practice, especially in our current political climate. The declaration is a dangerous tactic and sets a bad precedent for future presidents. It is also problematic in its principle and has far-reaching consequences.

To begin, President Trump’s declaration is not reflective of an actual emergency. In fact, customs and border protection data show that unlawful entry through the United States’ southern border in 2018 decreased by 25 percent from 2017 and is at a 46-year low. Data also shows the arrests of “non-criminal aliens” – those whose crimes only involve immigration violations – increased by 42 percent. Given these statistics, it seems as though the president is simply manufacturing a crisis and emergency.

It is a given that the immigration system in this country is extremely broken, which causes the issues in border protection and national security that Trump is referring to. However, the issues caused by the broken immigration system are already being addressed by the Trump administration’s increase in immigration crackdowns. While further steps to strengthen border security and to reform the current immigration system are needed, they don’t qualify as crises that require a national emergency declaration.

Regardless of which political ideology you believe in or which political party you belong to, there is no denying the fact that the southern border protection, while a concern, is not an emergency. In fact, the president himself admitted that when he said the following during the Rose Garden address: “I could do the wall over a longer period of time. I didn’t need to do this, but I’d rather do it much faster.”

How is a declaration of national emergency justified when the president himself does not believe that a wall at the southern border is an emergency? Not only is President Trump overreaching his executive power, but he is also undermining and taking advantage of the National Emergencies Act.

By participating in and continuing a dangerous trend, Trump’s declaration also sets a bad precedent for future presidents. Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama also used his executive powers to bypass Congress. For example, Obama issued sweeping executive orders in 2012 and 2014 to protect young, undocumented immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Now, it is clear where a switch in the ruling political party has brought the DACA program; it is negatively affecting the people the program was issued to protect.

Trump, by continuing this trend of overreaching executive power, is setting a precedent for future presidents that will only cause more problems. For issues such as illegal immigration and immigration reform, working alongside lawmakers should be the goal, instead of finding the fastest unilateral way to the goal.

So, what’s next for Trump’s national emergency? Since its declaration, many lawsuits have been filed against the Trump administration. The House of Representatives voted to overturn the declaration, and the Senate will be voting on the same resolution soon, though a presidential veto of the resolution is practically inevitable.

A unilateral decision on bipartisan issues such as immigration reform is bound to lead to a long legal battle and congressional debate, which entirely defeats the purpose of a national emergency.

Rithika Senthilkumar is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected].

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  • N

    NITZAKHONMar 6, 2019 at 10:33 am

    Yeah, this looks like a border crisis


    More than 76,000 migrants crossed the southern border illegally last month, the highest number in 12 years. So much for all those media “fact checks” arguing that there’s no emergency to justify President Trump’s wall.

    End quote

    But it’s not a crisis to the Left. It’s all part of importing people who will vote “D”.

  • N

    NITZAKHONMar 6, 2019 at 10:19 am

    Racist? Racist? BWAAAAA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! (I’ll have to tell my non-Caucasian immigrant wife.)

    Here I was expecting facts, logic, reason, and high-level argumentation. So disappointing.

    As to why we don’t give our names? We don’t feel like being doxed and harassed by you goose-steppers.

  • D

    Drew SullivanMar 5, 2019 at 11:03 am

    Weird how none of these racists and their shotty sources never actually post their real name or face. It’s easier to be radical and wildly incorrect when you can hide behind the anonymity of the internet. The collective crimes of immigrants still pale in comparison to the acts of domestic terrorism from white American men.

  • N

    NITZAKHONMar 1, 2019 at 9:12 am

    I guess this isn’t an emergency:–sZUi4rEtL4/XHWdMCEoS_I/AAAAAAABwh8/N7ihkPdJYp8swWQpd1NkxvK2jipbQ0_FACEwYBhgL/s1600/90mimb_pnil1dQLoa1wse7sx_540.jpg

    Nor this:

    U.S. Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley Sector reported apprehending nearly 7,000 migrants in a single week who illegally crossed the border from Mexico into Texas.

    Nor any of these:

    Nor these:

    What will happen when someone you love gets the Kate Steinle treatment? Or some Islamist who came in illegally shreds someone you love while screaming “Allahu ackbar!”?

  • A

    amyFeb 28, 2019 at 6:57 pm

    It is a national emergency; illegal immigration poses a serious threat to our country particularly because of diminished border security. There 25-30 billion dollars worth of border security, more ice/border patrol agents, tougher laws etc is rabidly opposed and shut down by democrats. Illegal immigration should ideally become zero and all illegal immigrants deported.

    Democrats do not care about border security anymore and so the only way for the president, to enforce border security as he has the right to do is with the military. It is not ideal, but he has little choice and tens of millions of Americans support his decision, the American people by and large to. Less illegal immigrants = higher wages, less crime, more secure nation from terrorism(9-11 hijackers were illegal immigrants and terrorists have slipped through the border and there at least 1 million Muslims with ties to Iran in South America) and less tax-payer money wasted on illegal immigrants for various welfare programs.

    It’s a no-brainer. Nothing forces an illegal immigrant to come to the united states, and if they truly have a dire cause they can apply as a refugee. The united states or Americans shouldn’t have to face the harm or pay for the bad consequences of the decisions of others.

    Immigration does not have to be a big national issue, the laws should be enforced and that is that; but democrats have made it into a singular national issue. Ultimately it is their immaturity and obsession with this topic that force the president’s hand on the national emergency.

  • N

    NITZAKHONFeb 28, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    I guess these assaults, robberies, rapes, and murders, even collectively, don’t add up to an emergency for you?

    Nor, I guess, the tens of thousands of people who DIE from the drugs smuggled in?

    Liberals put the interests of those OUTSIDE America over those INSIDE it.

  • S

    SenFeb 28, 2019 at 8:31 am

    If 22 million illegal immigrants living in country is not an emergency , if wages are depressed because of 22 million illegal immigrants affecting mainly Worker class is not an emergency, if convicted illegal immigrants can come and go freely across open border after being deported is not an emergency, if thousands of people dying because of drugs coming across open borders is not an emergency then what is an emergency