Tonight, President Trump will deliver a speech to the nation about the partial government shutdown and border security. Some are expecting him to declare he is ending the government shutdown. Others say he will first declare a national emergency at the border to free up his powers to build the border wall. He could do both. He could also do neither.
I’m very hopeful that he doesn’t do either of these things. Now is not the time to give into the Democrats’ demands. It’s definitely not the time to start the lengthy process of legal challenges that could actually make building the wall a slower endeavor than simply pushing to regain a majority in the House of Representatives next year.
Moreover, this would be a clear example of executive overreach. We do have a major problem at the border. Some might call it an emergency. But declarations of national emergencies are intended to be immediate fixes to immediate problems and there’s simply no immediate fix to the border issue.
This requires a legislative fix. Otherwise, he’s no different from President Obama who overstepped his powers in order to establish DACA. This isn’t just a case of two wrongs don’t make a right. It reinforces the Obama precedent and makes it more likely similar actions will be taken in the future. We desperately need presidents to stop abusing their power in order to legislate from the White House, and declaring a national emergency on something like this would run counter to that goal.
The wall will be buried in legal maneuvering for months if not years if it’s initiated in this manner. On the other hand, we could start building tomorrow if Congress makes it happen. The only way they will is if the President is able to pressure Democrats into funding the wall. It seems like the government shutdown has done very little to make them flinch, so it’s time for the President to step up pressure from different angles.
Unfortunately, using a national emergency is the opposite approach. Instead of pressuring them, it will relieve the pressure they’re currently feeling, even if that pressure is lower than what’s being applied to the President. It’s the wrong move.
Declaring a national emergency will actually slow the wall from being built as it’s buried in the courts. It will also give the Democrats incentive to continue obstructing the White House with every maneuver at their disposal. Stand your ground, Mr. President.