President Declares National Emergency


Courtesy of ABC

On February 15, 2019, President Donald Trump officially declared the United States to be in a state of national emergency due to the dissatisfaction with the funding Congress is providing him for barriers at the southern border.

When a national emergency is called by the President, this means that there is a situation beyond the ordinary which threatens the health or safety of citizens and which cannot be properly addressed by the use of other law. For Trump’s administration, this means building the wall.

Trump’s reasoning behind the need for a Southern Border wall is rooted in wanting to stop crime from entering the United States. He said, “We want to stop drugs from coming into our country. We want to stop criminals and gangs from coming into our country.”

According to CBS news chief correspondent Major Garrett, the President will announce he’s getting $8 billion for the border wall. These funds were previously asked for through Congress, however, Trump said the deal “wasn’t good enough.”

This move is almost certain to be met with a legal challenge. Congress is looking to overrule the President’s declaration through Congress or through the courts by the National Emergencies Act. This states that the House and the Senate can take up what is called a joint resolution of termination to end the emergency status if they believe the president is acting irresponsibly or the threat has dissipated.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that Trump’s move sets a precedent that a future Democrat president could capitalize on, “If the president can declare an emergency on something he has created as an emergency, an illusion that he wants to convey, just think about what a president with different values can present to the American people.”

Few Republicans have commented on the national emergency, yet the ones that have spoken out are mostly criticizing the declaration.

Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky and an ally to the president on other issues, said a national emergency declaration of this sort ran counter to the separation of powers outlined in the Constitution.

Another known Trump ally, Senator Marco Rubio said in a statement, “We have a crisis at our southern border, but no crisis justifies violating the Constitution.”

At Highlands High School, there are differing perspectives on Trump declaring the national emergency.

Senior Kat Finseth said, “I have lost all faith in our system. Our democracy is based on the idea of separation of powers, and Congress has abdicated their authority and responsibility to check Donald Trump. Hopefully, the courts will strike this down.”

While Junior Will Russell said, “While this is not necessarily the preferred way of getting the funds, I believe this will is still an effective way of building the wall. He had given Congress a significant amount of time to allow for increased funding in a spending bill, but they did not allow the funds to be given. The use of emergency powers is an effective, lawful way of constructing the border wall.”

Over the next couple of days, Congress and the courts will be making decisions about the national emergency.