State of Emergency

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Abra Lisowski

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State of Emergency

Caption: President Trump announced a state of emergency in order to bypass Congress to receive funding for his border wall.

Caption: President Trump announced a state of emergency in order to bypass Congress to receive funding for his border wall.

Abra Lisowski

Caption: President Trump announced a state of emergency in order to bypass Congress to receive funding for his border wall.

Abra Lisowski

Abra Lisowski

Caption: President Trump announced a state of emergency in order to bypass Congress to receive funding for his border wall.

On February 15, 2019, President Trump declared a state of emergency to secure federal funding for his proposed border wall. Last month, we featured an article detailing the month-long government shutdown that occurred over conflict around allocating $5.7 billion in federal funds for a wall along the United States and Mexican border. While the shutdown finally ended after 35 days, Trump issued an ultimatum: secure money for the wall before Feb 15, and avoid another shutdown. Congress solidly refused to direct the amount he desired for a border wall, and so on Feb. 15, in an effort to bypass the need for Congressional approval, he declared a state of emergency.

National Emergencies were designed so that during a crisis; if a president’s power is insufficient, they can sidestep some congressional red tape and take charge to make important decisions. These are meant to be only temporary, and last as long as the emergency itself. State of emergencies have very ambiguous limits; that is to say, it’s hard to tell what is within a president’s power.

In this instance, President Trump cites his growing concern over illegal immigration pouring in from Mexico as the cause of his issuance of the State of Emergency. However, New York Times Columnist Nicholas Kristof points out that, “The number of people apprehended at the border remains near a 45-year low.” He continues on to say that, “There isn’t a single known case of a terrorist sneaking into the United States along unfenced areas of the southern border. Ever.”

People on all sides of the political spectrum have mixed feelings toward the issuance of a State of Emergency to divert $5.7 billion to build a wall at the Mexican border. One thing is for certain, however: if Trump actually decides to go through with this plan, he will definitely face a massive political backlash from all sides.

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