There has been much controversy surrounding President Donald J. Trump’s presidency, from news about his personal life to his aspirations to “build the wall”. It has become clear that Trump is serious about his desire to build a wall along the southern border of the United States to increase border security. Trump is doing this in an effort to decrease the amount of drugs illegally entering the country, as well as human trafficking and illegal immigration. However, Congress denied his request for money to fund the wall. In response to this, Trump declared a national emergency on Feb. 15. In the past, presidents have done this when there was an immediate threat to the national security of the country, like when President Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War. But given the current situation, was this the right move on Trump’s end?
The United States Constitution divided the government into three branches: judicial, legislative and executive. Each of these three branches operate on a system called checks and balances, so one branch cannot override the other two. This is why Trump had to ask Congress, part of the legislative branch, for money to build his wall. When Congress denied his request, Trump had to find another way to acquire the money, so he used his executive privilege to call a national emergency – something which has been very useful in our country’s history when there was an actual emergency.
In one of Trump’s public speeches he revealed that he did not actually think that this was a national emergency, he just believed it should be done. This shows that President Trump is willing to do whatever it takes to build his wall, including going against the advice of Congress. Congress denied his request, not because they had any negative personal feelings towards him, but because this is not the best thing for the country. The wall is going to cost $70 billion to build and $150 million per year to maintain. Trump is correct in wanting to protect our country from criminals who do enter our country through the southern border, but there are much more cost effective ways of fixing this problem than building a wall. Especially as not everyone that crosses the border is a criminal and we do have our law enforcement to protect us from people who do classify as such.
According to former FBI agent Clint Watts, most of the country’s threats to border security come from the northern border, not the southern. That is not to say that people illegally entering our country from the southern border is not a problem, it just does not meet the criteria to be called a national emergency. If Trump continues to call events national emergencies that do not constitute as such, he will lose the trust of the American people. In the best interest of the nation and the people, Trump should listen to the congressional members we voted for and change his plans for border security.