By Sarah Ye || Contributing Writer
Photo courtesy of ABC News
On Friday, February 15, President Trump declared a national emergency to fund his wall along the Southwest border. While delivering his speech from the Rose Garden, President Trump claimed, “We don’t control our own border, so we’re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border.” The president’s announcement comes after the longest federal government shutdown in American history.
President Trump expressed concern about the drugs coming into America from the southern border, arguing a wall would prevent major trafficking. He criticized the Democrats for claiming the majority of drugs are smuggled through ports of entry, or places where people can lawfully cross the border. “It’s just a lie,” the president insisted, “it’s all a lie. They say walls don’t work. Walls work 100 percent.” His reasoning is the same for human trafficking, saying that traffickers can’t go through points of entry because border patrol will see the tied-up women in the backseat.
Despite President Trump’s strong belief in the efficacy of the border wall, most of the drugs brought into the US actually do come through ports of entry. The president claimed drug traffickers smuggle substances like meth, cocaine, and fentanyl through gaps in the border wall. However, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s 2018 National Drug Threat Assessment, about 85 percent of the fentanyl seized in 2017 came through the San Diego point of entry along the Southwest border. The same rings true for human trafficking; the United Nations’ International Organization on Migration found that “nearly 80% of international human trafficking journeys cross through official border points, such as airports and land border control points.”
Near the end of his address, President Trump said he hoped to get closer to $8 billion to fund the wall rather than the $1.375 billion Congress approved. He intended on signing the final papers upon his return to the Oval Office, and predicted a legal backlash from opponents. President Trump seemed unbothered by the prospect of a legal battle, commenting, “They will sue us in the Ninth Circuit … and we will possibly get a bad ruling … and then we will end up in the Supreme Court, and hopefully we will get a fair shake and win in the Supreme Court, just like the ban.”
The Supreme Court has upheld two of President Trump’s bans in the past. In 2018, the president’s travel ban on predominantly Muslim countries was ruled as unconstitutional by lower courts. The decision was overturned by the Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of President Trump’s travel ban, split 5-4. More recently, in January 2019, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to uphold the president’s ban on transgender individuals serving in the military. If the Supreme Court does judge whether President Trump’s redirection of funds is constitutional, the conservative majority will likely give him “a fair shake” at building the wall.
As the president predicted, states have taken legal action against his national emergency. On Monday, February 18, sixteen states joined together to sue President Trump. California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Virginia, and Michigan make up the “Plaintiff States.”
The Plaintiff States accuse the president of capitalizing on the false threat of undocumented immigration to declare a national emergency and redirect federal funds for his border wall. The Plaintiff States argue that President Trump has gone against the will of Congress, who is responsible for allocating federal funds. They believe his actions are unconstitutional, citing the Presentment Clause, which requires all bills must pass both chambers of Congress, and Appropriations Clause, which gives Congress control over federal spending.
So far, the suit has only been filed in the Federal District Court in San Francisco. Most likely, Congress will have their own response to the national emergency, which may also include legal action. They may also threaten to overturn it with a vote, as they did in 2005 with President George W. Bush. On February 21, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the Democrats will try and block President Trump’s national emergency with a resolution. In the Democrat-controlled House, the resolution should pass without trouble, but there is potential for trouble in the Republican Senate.
Sophomore Sarah Ye is a contributing writer, her email is firstname.lastname@example.org