Op-ed

Ask Ali: Can Trump declare a state of an emergency if we’re not in one?

Image: “Donald Trump” by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Raging storms, food shortages, deadly plague, war, treason, drought. All of these images come to mind when you think of what constitutes as an emergency. Albeit those are the most extreme scenarios, hopefully you can see the pattern in which what is labeled as an emergency is dangerous, instant and necessary to combat.

Now, let’s hang onto this definition while we look at the decision made on Friday, Feb. 15, by President Trump declaring a state of national emergency within the United States of America.

Trump stated that the U.S. faces a national security crisis at the southern border which, he claims, is an “entry point for criminals, gang members and illicit narcotics.”

Now, in the words of my beloved John Mulaney; “We don’t have time to unpack all of that!” However, there are so many things wrong with that statement alone, regarding things like facts about immigrants from Mexico and incredibly detrimental stereotypes, such as the ones Trump listed.

So let’s cut right to the chase: Does Trump have the power to declare a state of emergency? Yes. Is this one wildly unconstitutional and immoral? Double yes.

Webster defines emergency as, “an unforeseen combination of circumstances or the resulting state that calls for immediate action.” One of the key words in this definition is immediate. An emergency situation requires an immediate reaction.

Facts, statistics, videos and other politicians have proven that there is a serious difference between the situation that Trump depicts of the Mexican border and what the scene down there actually looks like.

These aforementioned politicians include Beto O’Rourke, a Texas native, former congressman, and prospective 2020 presidential candidate who has been very vocal on the subject of walls, particularly within his hometown of El Paso, Texas.

On Feb 11, 2018, O’Rourke hosted a march in El Paso against inhumane border control tactics in protest of Trump’s rally at the same location on the same date. The march was to draw attention to the fact that there is a stunning lack of crises at the border, despite the horrific picture that Trump and his administration continue to paint for the American people.

In addition to other politicians speaking out on the topic, The Department of Homeland Security’s own statistics show that the rate of border apprehensions have decreased by approximately 80 percent since the early 2000’s

This brings me back to my previous point. An emergency situation is one that requires immediate action. A need that this particular situation does not seem to have.

I know this with absolute certainty, as Trump said so himself. In his speech in which he declared the emergency, Trump noted, “I could do the wall over a longer period of time. I didn’t need to do this, but I’d rather do it much faster.”

He didn’t need to do this. But he’d rather do it faster.

This translates fairly easily to the idea that he didn’t instantly get what he wanted, so he decided to take the utmost extreme route to go above everyone’s heads.

His desire to build a wall and create an ultra exclusive nation, despite the protests of the people as well as congressional disapproval, has seemingly taken over as the current state of emergency was preceded by the longest government shutdown in the history of the United States.

This is all due to the fact that congress refuses to allocate $18 billion of the national budget to building a wall along the southern border for a crisis that doesn’t exist.

It’s hard to accept something as serious as a national state of emergency when, to us watching at home, it seems to be little more than a temper tantrum fueled by hate and discrimination.

National security is unarguably important, however, it is not something that can be achieved by building a barbaric slab of concrete around the entire country. If immigration processes were less impossible, less people would feel the need to enter illegally. Instead of closing ourselves off more, why don’t we try to make ourselves a little bit more open?

Gaining residency in the U.S. is incredibly difficult, which only adds to the plethora of reasons that people might feel compelled to come here illegally. It seems strange to get angry that people are coming here without permission when our lawmakers make the process of obtaining that permission grueling and unending.

Building a wall on top of the unnecessarily rigorous process is gruesome and cruel, and an apparent act of supremacy and prejudice.

Now is when something must give. Something must be done to put it in our president’s head that we want our country to be kept safe, but we refuse to give into his tactics and methods that are motivated by hatred.

If you, like so many other Americans, feel opposed to destruction of our nation’s morals with the building of the wall, please feel free to visit these resources to help take a stand.

Become Informed: https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/border_wall/index.html

Exercise Your Right To Petition: https://wildlandsnetwork.org/campaigns/borderlands/take-action-for-the-borderlands/

Call your Congressperson: (202) 225-4315 (6th Congressional District: Chrissy Houlahan)

Donate: https://nilc.z2systems.com/np/clients/nilc/donation.jsp?campaign=15&thesamepromise.

Ali Kochik is a first-year student English major. AK908461@wcupa.edu

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