Fed up with Democratic obstruction, President Donald J. Trump moved closer yesterday to fulfilling his signature campaign promise by declaring a national emergency under federal law so the government can finally move forward with building a desperately needed wall on the nation’s porous multi-state border with Mexico.
“We’re either going to have a win, make a compromise, because I think a compromise is a win for everybody, or I will declare a national emergency,” Trump said at the White House Thursday before leaving for a tour of the border in Texas.
They could solve this problem in literally 15 minutes. We could be back. We could have border security. They could stop this problem in 15 minutes if they wanted to. I really believe now that they don’t want to. I really believe that. I really believe that they don’t care about crime. I really believe this. The Democrats don’t care about crime.
They’ve been taken over by a group of young people who, frankly, in some cases — I’ve been watching — I actually think they’re crazy. But they’ve been taken over by a group that is so far left. I really don’t think they care about crime. And, you know, sadly, they’re viewing this as the beginning of the 2020 presidential race, and that’s okay with me. But they have been taken over by a group of people that don’t care about gangs. They don’t care about human trafficking and drugs. They don’t care about anything. I’ll tell you what — they have gone crazy.
Legal experts say the president has the authority to declare an emergency and invoke a federal statute called the National Emergencies Act that President Gerald Ford signed into law on Sept. 14, 1976.
“The Democrats & their media mouthpieces have been warned, either deal or the president will exercise his statutory authority under the National Emergencies Act,” tweeted conservative radio host and Landmark Legal Foundation founder Mark R. Levin.
While left-wing constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley expressed concern in The Hill newspaper about the wisdom of such an invocation, he wrote that it is clearly a legitimate legal option available to Trump.
“Congress expressly gave presidents the authority to declare such emergencies and act unilaterally,” Turley writes.
The 1976 National Emergencies Act gives presidents sweeping authority as well as allowance in federal regulations to declare an “immigration emergency” to deal with an “influx of aliens which either is of such magnitude or exhibits such other characteristics that effective administration of the immigration laws of the United States is beyond the existing capabilities” of immigration authorities “in the affected area or areas.” The basis for such an invocation generally includes the “likelihood of continued growth in the magnitude of the influx,” rising criminal activity, as well as high “demands on law enforcement agencies” and “other circumstances.”
“Democrats,” Turley writes, “have not objected to use of this authority regularly by past presidents, including roughly 30 such emergencies that continue to this day. Other statutes afford additional emergency powers.”
Turley adds that a Congressional Research Service report from 2007 stated, “Under the powers delegated by such statutes, the president may seize property, organize and control the means of production, seize commodities, assign military forces abroad, institute martial law, seize and control all transportation and communication, regulate the operation of private enterprise, restrict travel, and, in a variety of ways, control the lives of United States citizens.”
President Trump has already invoked the National Emergencies Act three times in his tenure, according to ABC News. President Barack Obama invoked the statute no fewer than 10 times.
Given the state of Trump’s current relations with the opposition party, an emergency declaration may be the president’s only means of ending the wall-funding stalemate.
The GOP-controlled House of Representatives voted 217 to 185 on Dec. 20 for a spending bill with $5.7 billion for the wall. The measure floundered in the Senate and the partial shutdown got underway Dec. 22. The Senate remains in Republican hands but the House is now controlled by Democrats.
The president’s negotiations with Democrats over the $5 billion needed to begin construction of the border wall have gone nowhere and the federal government continues to be partially shut down for lack of appropriated funds. Although pressure on Trump has been growing, the president has vowed to keep the shutdown going as long as it takes to secure funding for the wall.
It’s been a rough week for wall opponents.
Left-wing entertainer Cher, one of the most visibly partisan Democrats in Hollywood, urged Democrats to abandon their suicidal opposition to the wall.
After calling Pelosi “A HERO” in all-caps, Cher tweeted that Democrats should give the president the money for the wall, otherwise people “WILL STARVE LOSE THEIR HOMES, B UNABLE 2 C DRS.”
“DON[’]T DIE ON THIS HILL[,]” she wrote.
But that’s exactly what Democratic leaders seem intent on doing.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) haven’t exactly been taking the negotiations seriously. Last week Pelosi mocked Trump, saying she would give the president $1 to reopen the government,
“One dollar? Yeah, one dollar,” Pelosi said. “The fact is a wall is an immorality. It’s not who we are as a nation.”
At 7 o’clock last night, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) tweeted his disgust with Democrats.
“Mr. President, the Democrats are not working in good faith you. Declare emergency, build the wall now.”
At a linguistically tortured presser yesterday, a bug-eyed Pelosi, who turns 79 on March 26, seemed to say the roads near the border should be improved to make it easier for illegals to enter the United States. We should “repair the roads to facilitate immigration and trade in those regions.”
Her comment came as CNN’s Jim Acosta made a fool of himself at the border. In a video package intended to show there is no crisis at the border, Acosta ended up inadvertently proving that walls work.
Walking alongside some of the heavy border fencing near McAllen, Texas, Acosta said, “Here are some of the steel slats that the president’s been talking about.”
“But as we’re walking along here, we’re not seeing any kind of imminent danger.”
Acosta added, “There are no migrants trying to rush toward this fence,” and there is “no sign of the national emergency the president has been talking about.”
Trump heaped scorn on the CNN on-air personality, tweeting “Dear Diary ...” along with Acosta’s tweet about the report.