Dalila Omerovic, Staff Writer
The dangers of Donald Trump’s declaration of national emergency extend far beyond what he claims to be a “border crisis.” After he was unable to secure border wall money through the government’s annual spending bill, Trump and his advisers decided upon a different method in order to obtain the necessary funds: executive action. On Feb. 14, Trump signed an executive order declaring a national emergency at the U.S. and Mexico border which would appropriate funds, around $8 billion, from the Department of Defense in order to construct Trump’s mighty wall.
This declaration is a clear abuse of power on our president’s end. It sets a dangerous precedent for the future of the executive branch. As president, if I can’t get my policy enacted through Congress with bipartisan support, for good reason in this case, I’ll just declare national emergency even when there really isn’t one. In his announcement of the emergency he said, “I didn’t need to do this, but I’d rather do it much faster.” Trump and his administration are well aware of the fact that there is no real emergency and they are only acting in order to fulfill a campaign promise from 2016.
Sure, under federal law, U.S. presidents are granted the right of executive orders and action, but for the right reasons. National emergencies should only be declared if a major crisis or disaster poses a threat to U.S. security, homeland, civilians or military. In the case of the southern border, none of these exist. While it may be difficult to decide what constitutes a national emergency, it is much easier to decide what doesn’t.
Since the president’s declaration, opposition efforts quickly began. The House of Representatives, along with House Leader Nancy Pelosi, drafted a joint resolution that would block Trump’s declaration. The bill is likely to pass in the House, but it is unclear if it will have as much support in the Senate. If the resolution passes the Senate, it goes to the president’s desk as any other bill would, which he would likely veto. Congress can always override the president’s veto with a two-thirds vote, but the chances of this happening are slim.
Another prominent actor we see in the fight against the border wall are a group of 16 states who have filed a lawsuit against the declaration. Their lawsuit essentially states that Trump manufactured the crisis and is simply using the option of declaring national emergency to bypass Congress and divert funds for the wall’s construction.
Similarly, the American Civil Liberties Union is suing Trump for declaring a fake emergency. The courts are likely to provide a resolution for this problem. When the lower courts make their rulings, one side will likely continue to appeal until the case makes its way to the Supreme Court, like Trump initially described in his declaration. Despite the dominating conservative ideology on today’s Supreme Court, I hope that Trump’s declaration will be recognized for what it really is: a manufactured fake emergency, an illegal attempt to bypass Congress’s power, and a clear abuse of power.