The Notion that the Drug Problem at our Mexican-U.S. Border Does Not Present an Emergency is Nonsense

Border Patrol agents patrol the US-Mexico border prior to an Easter mass at the fence separating the two countries at Friendship Park in San Ysidro, California on Sunday, April 16, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Sandy Huffaker (Photo credit should read SANDY HUFFAKER/AFP/Getty Images)

 

The National Emergencies Act of 1976 (NEA) provides the President with broad powers to issue a Declaration. Although Congress has the right to rescind an NEA Declaration by a majority vote, the President could veto the measure and Congress certainly does not have a 2/3rds majority to override the veto. Congress has never rescinded a NEA declaration.

An interesting aspect of the NEA is discussed in a Findlaw article set forth below:

[“Under the National Emergencies Act of 1976,” writes NPR’s Tamara Keith, “the president can declare an emergency for just about anything.” A general Declaration of Emergency under the Act is more limited in scope than disaster declarations and is often designed to prevent a major disaster from occurring. And, as co-director of the Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Program Elizabeth Goitein told the New York Times, there are two laws involving military construction projects that the president could invoke to fund and construct the wall once the emergency is declared.

But that doesn’t mean the wall is inevitable. Under the same statute granting the president emergency powers, Congress granted itself authority to terminate the emergency. As of last month, the statute has been invoked 58 times to declare national emergencies, with 31 of them still ongoing. Yet Congress has never terminated an emergency, and only threatened to do it once. George Miller, a former Democratic congressman from California, and others put forth a resolution in 2005 countering then-President George W. Bush’s plan to allow government contractors to pay workers less than usual for Katrina-related recovery projects. Bush eventually withdrew that measure.

In the current context, Democrats seem united against any additional funding for the southern border wall, so we can probably expect a similar showdown if Trump follows through with the emergency declaration.]

OUR FREE OPINION

There is no doubt that numerous lawsuits will be filed to prevent the President’s Declaration from going into effect. One example is reported on in Fox News quoted below.

“California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Sunday that he will  ‘definitely and imminently’ file a lawsuit against the Trump administration for declaring a national emergency at the U.S.’ southern border.

‘It’s clear that this isn’t an emergency, it’s clear that in the mind of Donald Trump he needs to do something to try to fulfill a campaign promise,’ Becerra said during an interview on ABC News’ ‘This Week.’ The construction of a border wall  has been a central issue for Trump since he first announced he was running for president in 2015.

Becerra added: ‘That doesn’t constitute a national emergency that would require us to essentially stand down on all sorts of federal laws and also violate the U.S. Constitution.’

Becerra’s assertion that ‘It’s clear that this isn’t an emergency” is utter nonsense. Drugs are pouring across the border and clandestinely shipped to our major cities. Young people are rapidly becoming hooked on heroin, methamphetamine, and other drugs. Once hooked, Americans are dying at record levels. The problem is real.

People disagree as to the number of Americans killed by illegal immigrants (the numbers are in the thousands depending on how back your research is). However, if one were to ask a family who has lost a loved one at the hands of an illegal immigrant, they would likely say that one such killing is too much.

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