Now that President Donald Trump has declared the situation on the southern border a National Emergency his opponents have predictably offered criticisms. It is unconstitutional, or illegal, or unnecessary, or whatever negative arguments they can come up with.
However, while the Constitution does not grant presidents this authority, the Congress gave them the authority to declare national emergencies with the National Emergencies Act of 1975, requiring that the president outline the specific emergency powers he is using under existing statutes.
Declaring a National Emergency is not the rare bird that Trump’s critics would have you believe. There have been nearly 60 declarations since the law passed, including these by the following presidents: Jimmy Carter – twice; Ronald Reagan – six times; George H.W. Bush – five times; Bill Clinton – 17 times; George W. Bush – 13 times; Barack Obama – 12 times; and three previously by Trump.
Even though the statute has been used often since it became law, Trump has received criticism from both sides of the aisle for this one.
Andrew McCarthy is a former Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and legal authority. He wrote the following about Trump’s considering using the National Emergency declaration: “The presumption in our law, whether we agree with it or not, is that this power to declare emergencies and, in effect, legislate measures to deal with them has been delegated to the president by Congress in numerous statutes,” and he may “invoke any powers Congress has delegated by statute for such emergencies.”
Of course this does not mean that a court challenge will not be made to the declaration, which Trump has already predicted will happen. The argument made by Congressional Democrats – who seem to defend open borders and illegal aliens, etc. – will be that there is no crisis justifying a National Emergency declaration that will allow the president to build barriers on sections of the border to stifle illegal entry into the country.
We do know that millions of illegal aliens are in the country. We know that thousands of people are coming to the border in caravans desiring to enter illegally. We know that some of them are violent, are drug traffickers, gang members and other unseemly characters. But we don’t know how many of them will commit crimes if they get in. We know how many of those who got in illegally were captured and how many of those committed crimes. We don’t know how many that committed crimes were not caught.
But we do know that FBI data show that there were 115,717 murders from 2003 through 2009. The General Accounting Office documents that criminal immigrants committed 25,064 of these murders. That averages out to 3,580 Americans that were murdered by illegal aliens in each of those seven years.
We also know that many Congressional Democrats say that these figures do not constitute a crisis, only a problem. And such insignificant problems do not justify the erection of additional barriers along the southern border to help keep illegals out.
If this is such a serious problem, they ask, why didn’t Trump take care of it before now?
Fair question. Perhaps it is because the most effective and acceptable way to address border security is through legislation, and with a Republican majority in both houses of Congress when he took office, he expected Congress to do that job. It failed to do so.
One might expect the numbers related to illegal aliens in America, from dollars to deaths, to catch the attention of Republicans in Congress. Unfortunately, like Democrats, many Republicans do not consider these numbers a crisis, either. How many Americans have to die at the hands of illegal aliens before these elected public servants consider it a crisis?
Some of this failure to recognize the seriousness of inadequate border control no doubt results from the personal dislike of Donald Trump. So strong is this hatred that it compels people to abandon their sworn duties to the American people and obstruct Trump’s efforts to guide the country.
Others go farther: they work in the DOJ and FBI and plotted to remove him from office. Their motto might go something like this: “We don’t like Trump, and we are going to look until we find a crime to take him out. Or create one.”
Removing a duly elected president is way above the pay grade of these arrogant, self-important bureaucrats. It is not part of the job description of the hired hands in the Justice Department and FBI to plot the overthrow of the President of the United States. Their job is to serve their bosses, the American people. Yet, we find that such plotting did occur.
Whether this behavior meets the legal definition of treason is open to question, but it definitely resides in the neighborhood of that high crime. Certainly, this behavior warrants some degree of serious punishment. Yet today, the worst that any of them has received is being fired.
The Justice Department has sat peacefully on its hands while this subversion of the president was occurring and has done nothing since then.
Perhaps the newly confirmed attorney general will fix that.