Following a weeks-long grind, Congress unified on the evening of Feb. 14 to pass a robust federal spending bill – avoiding a second devastating government shutdown.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign the bill that would allocate $1.375 billion for a border wall – something his base has repeatedly called a weak compromise compared to his previously proposed amount.
Following the announcement that he would sign the bill, a White House press release revealed that he will declare a national emergency to secure some $8 billion – over a $2 billion increase from the $5.7 billion he originally wanted – to fund a border wall, according to CNN.
There has been speculation about whether Trump can actually declare a national emergency under the guise of a crisis at the border simply to fund his wall. The short answer? He can.
Congress does not exactly have the ability to block his emergency use of powers. But the House and the Senate can enact the National Emergencies Act to block his action if they are deemed “irresponsible” or the “threat has dissipated,” according to The New York Times.
This inevitably would be vetoed by Trump himself and will likely ensnare the president in legal battles for months to come.
The Trump cabinet says this is part of an effort to end the crisis at the border. Let’s be clear – there isn’t one. At least not in the way Trump paints it.
The Trump administration claims the wall is for the “safety and security of the American people,” and in the process, have spearheaded a witch hunt against those who may attempt to seek asylum at the southern border.
His claim is a fallacy. The border wall will be an American motif that all Mexicans and Latinos are unwelcome.
For a president so fixated on the security and safety of Americans, one would think he would look to the widespread violence that natural-born citizens of this country are committing.
Feb. 14 was the one-year anniversary of the Parkland Shooting.
There have been 36 mass shootings in 2019, according to the Gun Violence Archive. According to Mass Shooting Tracker, 67 people have died in those shootings.
Trump likes to claim that immigrants are violent, threatening American lives, and flowing freely across our southern border. He has not been able to provide any verifiable statistics proving the violence illegal immigrants supposedly commit or the number of illegal border crossings.
Statistics that are readily available? The ones concerning gun deaths. According to the CDC, nearly 40,000 people were killed by guns in 2017.
If Trump does succeed in using a national emergency ploy to fund his border wall, what will he and his supporters say when a future president uses this precedent to take drastic-action against gun violence?
We can all imagine the vitriol and backlash.
This is all we need to know to realize that this wall and this emergency are not about the well-being or safety of the American people. The wall is a symbol of racism and xenophobia that would be built with money ripped from government coffers to please a racist and xenophobic Trump base.
And if by some miracle, Trump does not declare an emergency, the threat alone is evidence enough that Trump clearly views his presidency as the soap box on which to stand and blame Mexicans and other non-white people for any crimes committed on U.S. soil.
Don’t let claims of a national emergency cloud your judgement – the wall is racist.