Border Wall: After President Donald Trump said Thursday he’ll sign the budget deal, he ended the possibility of a second government shutdown. Now, for part two of this saga: his declaration of an emergency to build the border wall Trump promised to Americans.
We urged him to take that step before the deal had been struck. We did so because the deal actually includes Democrats agreeing to spend money on a wall, a key concession that weakens all their previous arguments against the wall.
Now that he’s declared an emergency, it gives him the ability to start building.
The new budget deal, though it contains just $1.4 billion for the wall — way below the $5.7 billion Trump requested and the $18 billion he initially asked for — gives the president a start. And with a declaration of an emergency, he now can do even more.
Indeed, Trump has already scraped up $8 billion in funds for building the border wall. His Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said Friday the president has already lined up emergency funds totaling $600 million from the Treasury, $2.5 billion in drug-interdiction funds from the Defense Department, and $3.5 billion from military construction funds.
With the $1.4 billion already in the budget, that’s a grand total just under $8 billion. Not enough, of course, but a good start.
Yes, It’s An Emergency
Then there’s the declaration of a national emergency, which has come under fire.
As we continue to face wave after wave of illegal immigrant “caravans” egged on by Democrats and open-borders advocates — and the possibility of drug dealers, terrorists and criminals crossing into our country unhindered — Trump’s declaration became an imperative. As we’ve said for years, a nation that doesn’t control its borders ceases to exist. Period.
Then there’s the idea that this represents some kind of “abuse” of the government’s power to issue emergency declarations. Please.
Since 1976, there have been 60 presidential emergency declarations, and 31 of them are still in force. President Obama alone signed 12. Most of them have been for foreign emergencies, far from the U.S. Given this, the idea that protecting our own border from a surge of illegal incursions doesn’t rise to the level of “national emergency” is absurd.
Border Wall: Build It
We keep hearing the Democrats will challenge it in court. Well, let them. It’s pretty clear that Trump has the authority to do what he’s doing. And, if the Dems pursue a policy of foot-dragging and legal harassment, the Democrats will once again show their lack of seriousness about doing anything about protecting our porous southern border.
The U.S. has already started work on the border wall near El Paso, Trump says. Great. He should keep at it, using whatever funds he can gather through the emergency declaration and from future budgets.
But whatever happens, the wall won’t be done in time for 2020, the next national election year. That means Republicans and Democrats will face the border as a major campaign issue in 2020. That’s as it should be. Let Trump start building, then let the people decide.
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Author: TERRY JONES