President Trump declared a state of emergency regarding illegal immigration across our southern border. I’m not at all sure if a “national emergency” was ever really defined except to give that power to our presidents.
To my way of thinking, an emergency is when our nation is attacked, or when I accidentally cut myself and might bleed enough to pass out, or when someone tells me in the car that they must go now and there’s no bathroom in sight.
Emergencies are not usually long-term, well-known situations that, while thorny, are well understood. Which brings us back to President Trump and the budget deal that didn’t give him the cash he wanted for the border wall.
Is the emergency that several hundred thousand illegal immigrants cross the land border with Mexico, or that Congress didn’t provide the money that the president wanted to build more wall?
I’ve got an answer: Neither! These aren’t emergencies, they’re failures…of Congress.
As I recall, illegal immigration has been a point of contention for at least thirty years and resulted in the McClellan Act in the 1980s that granted amnesty and was supposed to fund border security that would end illegal immigration. Amnesty we got; border structures to stop illegal immigration, not much.
By the time we got to the end of the 1990s, we had up to a million immigrants a year jumping the border. We started building more wall and fence in the mid-2000s, and it does work.
But the real thing that dropped illegal immigration to “just” a few hundred thousand people a year was the financial crisis. When the opportunity faded, so did the desire to go through the hassle of entering the country illegally.
None of this falls under the strict definition of an emergency, except for the creation of caravans of thousands of illegals funded by wigged-out, open-border liberals.
Immigration is important, no doubt, and should be dealt with. That’s the job of Congress. Or rather, it was. Now the job is to posture until the next election while banking pay that puts them in the top 10% of wage earners and building up a pension. Awesome!
This covers both sides of the aisle.
You might not know it, but we have 31 other states of emergency already in place. They cover everything from an emergency declared on September 14, 2001 by reason of certain terrorist attacks, to Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Burundi, which was declared in 2015.
In fact, many of our current states of emergency have to do with blocking property transfers of people we don’t like in places like South Sudan, Venezuela, Libya, Somalia, and, of course, North Korea.
We even have a declared emergency against transactions with terrorists that interfere with the Middle East Peace Process. Hmm! Does that include sending aid to Hamas, the terrorist group that runs the Gaza Strip?
Again, these efforts might be important, but that hardly makes them an emergency. Just as with the border wall funding, presidents declare most of these things as emergencies because they can’t get them passed in Congress.
I feel the pain of the presidents. We can’t get much of anything passed in Congress, and they should all be fired for it. But that doesn’t mean that we should allow any one or any group to bypass the legislature and take unilateral action. That will end badly, to say the least. We definitely have a crisis, whether it’s an emergency or not is maybe somewhat academic.
Something needs to be done to start dealing with the situation. If the president can get enough barriers built to control all the illegal entries, maybe we (Congress) can start to deal realistically with the rest of the illegal immigration problem.