So, the betting in Washington is that President Trump will not declare a national emergency in order to build the wall he’s been promising to build ever since he declared his candidacy for the presidency. We’re not so sure.
Of course, predicting what this most unpredictable of Presidents will, or will not, do is somewhat of a fool’s errand, but we think the odds are at least fifty-fifty that he will declare a national emergency. We don’t think he’ll do that just to build the wall, but rather to also demonstrate to his so-called base that he has done everything humanly possible to deliver on his promise, regardless of how ill-advised it may have been.
It would be a no-lose proposition for the President, because multiple suits to enjoin him from acting on his national emergency would be an absolute certainty. We imagine those suits are already written and just waiting to be filed. After all, there are the very substantial environmental issues, with estimates suggesting that the migration patterns of more than 1500 species would be adversely affected. Then, of course, there could be an avalanche of private suites to enjoin the government from the “taking” of private land on which sections of the wall are proposed to be built.
So, President Trump could go the extra mile to get the wall built knowing, full well, the wall would be tied up in litigation for years after he was gone from the Oval Office. The Administration could petition the Supreme Court for an expedited hearing on the matter if the lower courts enjoin him from acting on such a national emergency. It’s anyone’s guess what would then happen, but we suspect the Court would be loath to give the Chief Executive such unbridled authority to act contrary to the will of Congress on matters that are within the province of Congress.
The President could then demonstrate that he fought the good fight, but that the Democrat deep state and liberal judges were more determined to stop him from building the wall then they were to stop the flow of drugs, rapists, killers, terrorists and all other manner of pestilence visited upon us through our porous border with Mexico. Ironically, the only documented case of a terrorist entering the United States across a border with the intent to kill Americans and create mayhem entered across the Canadian border.
A crisis or a national emergency is, we suppose, in the eye of the beholder. If there is a crisis or a national emergency it is less of a crisis or national emergency than at any time in the last two decades. Last year, apprehensions at the Mexican border were but a quarter of what they were in fiscal year 2000 according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency. As an aside, there were also over 3000 apprehensions along the Canadian border and another 3500 from coastal areas. Furthermore, as we have reported in the past, the majority of illegal immigrants simply come with legal visas and overstay their “visit.” According to the Pew Research Center there were at total of 739,478 overstays compared to 563,204 illegal border crossings in 2016.
We recognize different people can look at the same statistics and slice and dice the numbers to suit their purpose. What seems very clear, however, is that a wall is not going to keep drugs or terrorists out of the country, nor, in our opinion, will a wall materially reduce the incidence of drugs or terrorists entering the country. Most authorities agree that drugs make their way through legal points of entry. In 2016 42 million people entered the United States legally over sixteen pedestrian foot bridges. It is estimated that about a million people cross into the United States legally every day. Approximately 40,000 cars travel into the United States from Tijuana alone at the San Ysidro border crossing every day. The likelihood of bad hombres or a cache of drugs entering the United States in one of those 40,000 cars that come in everyday is far greater than someone sneaking in over hundreds of miles of baron, but surveilled, desert. Furthermore, there are dozens of other legal border crossings. There are over 300 points of legal air, water and land border crossings into the United States.
No one has done more to confuse the picture than the President and other White House personal. For example, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders reported, with a straight face, that 4,000 known or suspected terrorists had come across our southern border. Well, not quite. The number was actually 3,755, according to a White House briefing report, and almost all of them were intercepted at airports. When pressed for an explanation of what seemed to be a very dramatic contradiction, it fell to Kellyanne Conway to correct the record, calling Sanders statement “an unfortunate misstatement.”
It is reported that key Republicans including Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), and even Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) have all urged the President to back away from his threat to declare a national emergency. But these are not the people who talk to President Trump’s base. They would be the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham.
Will the President use next Tuesday’s State of the Union Address to declare a national emergency? We don’t know, but we suspect he’s more worried about Ann Coulter than Nancy Pelosi.
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