Donald Trump’s decision to declare a “national emergency” in order to fulfill his nativist campaign promise of building a wall between the United States and Mexico is nothing less than an attack on the system of checks and balances at the heart of our constitution.
There is no border crisis, aside from the one that exists in the fever dreams of conservatives who watch Fox “News.”
Illegal crossings are down. They’ve been going down for years.
Trump himself admitted that his crisis is “fake news” when he said, “I didn’t need to do this, but I’d rather do it much faster.”
There are legitimate uses for the exercise of emergency powers. This is not one of those cases. Trump is using this emergency declaration not to address a legitimate crisis, but rather to make an end run around Congress, which in Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution is given exclusive power to appropriate funds. He is, in short, arrogating to the presidency power it does not and should not possess.
If allowed to stand, Trump’s action sets an extremely dangerous precedent.
If a president can declare a national emergency in response to a crisis that does not exist, a crisis he himself admits is fictitious, as a means to defy the will of the legislative branch and assume the power of the purse, we are well on the way to autocracy.