Catherine Enos – Opinions editor
In this past week, Congress successfully passed a bill which permanently reopened the federal government for the fiscal year. Included in this bill is a portion of the money Donald Trump requested for a border wall. Unfortunately for him, the bill doesn’t have all the money his proposed wall would need. That’s how the government works– this isn’t the first time an initiative failed to gather sufficient funding.
Trump has decided that the allocations for the wall are not enough. As a result, he has planned to declare a national emergency. Technically, he has the authority to declare an emergency. In fact, the first president to declare an emergency was Woodrow Wilson and every president since Jimmy Carter has declared at least two emergencies. Some of those emergencies are still active– 31 to be exact (cnn.com).
But there’s a difference between these emergencies and the border wall. Some examples of past national emergencies include Hurricane Harvey, the Iran hostage crisis, 9/11, and the Swine Flu outbreak. Funding for an ineffective wall is not on par with crises America has experienced in the past.
Additionally, the border wall is not something Americans want– a Gallup poll shows that 60% of Americans are against it. There are actual crises occurring in America. Opioid addiction is ravaging the country. Global warming is irreparably destroying the planet. Guns are in the hands of people that shouldn’t have guns. And the list goes on.
Perhaps the most mind-numbing piece of this story is the fact that Congress, which can revoke the national emergency declaration, might allow this blatant usurpation of power to happen. It seems that this will happen too, since Senator Mitch McConnell expressed his support directly after he announced the president’s plans to Congress.
The most important part of all of this, however, is the ethical implications of what the administration is doing. In his State of the Union speech, Donald Trump dedicated a portion of his time towards demonizing immigrants. And how could one forget the fact that the government separated families and lost track of 1,500 children. There’s the emergency.
What Trump has in mind is not an emergency, but maybe it’s a crisis– a constitutional one.