February 16, 2019

The Trump Way of Doing Things: A Real National Emergency.

by Hal Gershowitz

Comments Below

Of Thee I Sing Heading AuthorsPresident Trump has declared a national emergency.

The emergency the President is eager to address isn’t so much about dangerous immigrants and killer drugs flooding into the United States across our southern border as it is about his possibly failing to keep a campaign promise. You know the one. He is going to build a great big beautiful wall (for which Mexico will pay). It is, now, to consist of vertical steel slats. Slats will allow our good guys to see who is approaching from the other side of the border. Then, again, slats would presumably allow their bad guys to pass stuff through the slats to our bad guys when no one is looking, but let’s not get bogged down in details.

The Executive Order declaring this National Emergency is, of course, pure Kabuki. It’s about political showmanship more than serious threats to the United States.  As we have stated in the past, we carry no brief against beefed up border security including a barrier or a wall where appropriate. An appropriate barrier where necessary is neither drastic nor uncommon. What we do have a problem with is the demonization of immigrants in order to keep a campaign promise.

Our overriding drug problem (but certainly not our only drug problem) in the United States involves the illegal use of legal drugs produced by American firms and distributed by American physicians through American pharmacies.

The terrorist threat has not come from hordes of terrorists (or even isolated cases of terrorists) slipping across our southern border. No, sadly, the one documented case of a terrorist coming across our border with munitions intending to kill Americans, came across our northern border from Canada.

What makes President Trump’s Executive Order particularly egregious is that he proudly admitted that it wasn’t necessary. He said, probably quite correctly, that he had the authority to move some funds, presumably from the Defense Department, Homeland Security, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) around sufficiently to do some serious wall building.

But declaring a national emergency—now that’s something he assumes his base will relish. Certainly something over which the likes of Hannity, Limbaugh, Ingraham and Judge Jeanine will probably swoon. Well, that gives us a real problem. It’s the President thumbing his nose at Congress, the Judiciary and, quite probably, the Constitution, which is just about the only thing he is sworn to respect and obey.

The Constitution makes the management of the purse the responsibility of Congress. The Congress addressed the President’s demand for better border security in the bi-partisan bill it sent to him 48-hours ago.  He signed the bill, and then in effect, overrode it by declaring a National Emergency. He decided that he, and not Congress, would manage the nation’s purse.  He says he took that action to hasten the construction of his great, big, beautiful wall, but instead he has simply assured that the wall will be tied up in litigation, probably for years. Within hours, private property owners had filed suit to stop the taking of their property for Trump’s wall. This is pure Kabuki.

Now, we do have real emergencies in these United States that, arguably, require attention. We have an emergency that kills over 3,000 Americans a month, more than half of whom are young Americans between the ages of 15 and 44. And we know the precise cause of most of these deaths. It’s speed. No, we’re not talking about methamphetamines (although we could). We’re talking about automobile deaths, most of which are caused by speeding on our nation’s roadways. Reduce speed limits and we would drastically reduce highway deaths. Come to think of it, that’s something the President could probably do with a legitimate Executive Order. President Nixon did in 1973, and his Executive Order resulted in an immediate 17% decrease in highway fatalities—nearly 10,000 lives (mostly young lives) were saved. Now, that would be an entirely justifiable and beneficial Executive Order, albeit a uniformly unpopular one.

President Trump wouldn’t touch that one with a ten-foot pole. His minions would revolt (along with almost everyone else). So, we’ll build a wall. Visa overstays will, undoubtedly, increase. So will vehicle border crossings at designated border-entry points. In fact, all three-hundred legal visitor points-of-entry will surely see a big increase, and, for sure, many of those visitors will not leave when they are supposed to.  After all, that’s how most illegal immigration takes place today.

We will, undoubtedly, cut off the flow of many poor migrants and asylum seekers. But the really bad ones—they’ll keep coming until we begin to seriously enforce our visa entry laws.

It’s all Kabuki folks.

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16 responses to “The Trump Way of Doing Things: A Real National Emergency.”

  1. Steve Hardy says:

    For anyone wanting the facts about this “emergency” read this https://www.cato.org/blog/there-no-national-emergency-border-mr-president,

  2. Joanne says:

    Get over your trump hate! Would u prefer a Bernie or Hillary? He is saving our nation!how any Jew is not grateful he is presidentisbeyondme!

    • To criticize President Trump is not to hate him. Political criticism is as American as apple pie. Intolerance of criticism is not. In fact, we have given various actions by this President a “thumbs up” on more than one occasion. President Trump declared a National Emergency after admitting that he didn’t have to declare a National Emergency.That, in our judgment (and by definition) is usurping power not otherwise provided by our constitution. That flaunts his oath of office “to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States.” How that is okay with any thinking American is, frankly, beyond us.

  3. Paul lubar says:

    3,000 traffic deaths per month, not per day.

  4. Paticia Levy says:

    I don’t think you are covering the whole picture of the problems with illegal immigrants. The border wall won’t cover all of the problems, but it is a good start. As to your belief that President Trump is just satisfying a campaign promise, I strongly disagree.

    I see a very pragmatic man trying to save some semblance of the country that our founders envisioned, while having to put up with a majority of corrupt politicians and naysayers.

    Everyone sat back and allowed Obama to flood our country with illegals and third world people that will never assimilate, but will change our laws to suit their third world beliefs. Think it isn’t happening?

    If you oppose the wall, you oppose a sovereign nation. I pray that people will start questioning the propaganda that they are being fed about our President and learn to appreciate the sacrifices that he has made for our country. Just imagine what it would be like if Hillary won.

    • Actually, President Obama did not allow illegal immigrants to flood our country. Deportations, or “removals” as the Department of Homeland Security calls them, increased in each of the first four years President Obama was in office, topping 400,000 in fiscal year 2012. Obama oversaw more deportations than George W. Bush, just as Bush oversaw more than Bill Clinton. While President Obama’s aggressive policy of deporting illegal immigrants slacked off toward the end of his administration, it is incorrect to infer that he allowed illegal immigrants “to flood our country.” In fact, candidate Trump praised President Obama’s aggressive removal policy.

  5. Leonard Sherman says:

    It is beyond my ability to understand why the the United States of America can not copy and emulate the electronic security fences that Israel has employed in areas of the country where they have not built walls, . These electronic fences have worked because on a cleared path of ten yards in front of the fence are signs in the language that is understood by terrorists and that is the cleared path is a mined field with high explosives 100% effective

  6. Susan duman says:

    The newest chapter of your extraordinary understanding of what’s on is so beautifully written as always.
    Please, when the time comes to publish your volumes, don’t let editors eliminate your details..
    You will be in the curriculum at many fine universities where students will be turned away from the classes because they will quickly fill up.
    History and political science were my majors. Now I have the luxury of learning without blue books and tests.
    I knew there was something good about aging and this is it.

  7. judy says:

    Can you think of anything that you agree with our President on? It would be a nice change of pace to read something positive for a change. I for one believe “illegal” is just that and anything that will stop more coming in, I support.

    • IN Response to Judy. Actually, yes, we can point to a number of our essays that either support positions that President Trump has taken, or criticized what we considered unfair criticism of the President. Specifically, we refer Judy to our essays of January 19, 2019, “Mueller Versus Buzzfeed,” November 17, 2018 “Criminal Justice Reform, Trump Got This one Right,” January 21, 2018, “The Schumer Shutdown,” February 6th, 2018,”Food Fight,” December 20, 2017 “The Tax Bill and Extreme Hyperbole,” December 16, 2017, “Final Tax Bill: Plenty That’s Good Despite Naysayers,” December 9, 2017, Trump on Jerusalem. He Got It Right.” We also opined that President Trump did the right thing by pulling out of the Iran deal. Yes, we have found much to criticize about this President, but we have never hesitated to offer support when we felt it has been warranted, nor have we hesitated to criticize unfair comments directed at the President.

  8. susan duman says:

    Your newest essay is, yet again, one of the few advantages of aging. I get to keep up with history and political science without blue book exams.


  9. Marc Slavin says:

    Hal, so what’s the answer? I agree with you regarding Canada (by the way I am not a big fan of canucks) they ride on our coattails. Canada is known for allowing illegals in because they want to grow their population and they need the money to support their socialist tax base and mickey mouse health coverage. So why can’t we stop the bad people coming in from the northern border? How about the wall in Israel, it is 440 miles long and has been effective (as far as I know).

    The issue with Trump is that people don’t necessarily dislike what he is doing for our country, they just don’t like his style. He is in fact a bully, but so is Schumer and Pelosi. They are the biggest bullies in congress and hypocrites.

  10. Michael Gong says:

    Exactly. It isn’t The Wall per se that is so offensive. Of course we should have secure borders. That goes without saying. But the scapegoating of immigrants to instill fear as a political ploy to further unite his base is truly repugnant. It is an yet another unpleasant reminder of 1939 and “the night of broken glass.”

  11. bonnie joseph says:

    much prefer Hillary or Bernie– or both!!!!

    jews voted 70% democratic in 2016 and 82% democratic in 2018

    we do , in a majority, know what is best for our country.

    and always have

  12. m m kaback, md says:

    You and many of your readers should take a course or read a good text on psychopathology. This would explain our “president’s” behavior and actions far more than all the rhetoric and blab about this policy or that……He is a petulant, immature bully whose ego is beyond measure. There are terms like sociopath, narcissist, confabulator, etc. to describe this person’s insatiable need to lie and always to get his way by one means or the other. Incredible that so many Americans can support this threat to our nation!

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