The National Emergencies Act of 1976, authorized presidents to use funds already allocated to deal with urgent emergencies.

On Friday the president declared a national emergency in order to secure funds for a campaign promise to build a wall that he repeatedly told his supporters would be paid for by Mexico. The president failed to secure any funds from our neighbor to the south and had two years with a Republican controlled Congress, yet he still couldn’t get it built. So the president decided to declare a national emergency. 

The National Emergencies Act of 1976, authorized presidents to use funds already allocated to deal with urgent emergencies. Clearly the intent is to allow prompt action in response to unexpected situations. For example, when the US was attacked on 9/11, George W. Bush had to respond immediately – that very day.

 In the case of the southern border, the reality is that there is no new crisis. Illegal immigration across the southern border is way down since a decade ago. 

The caravans, those people Trump loves to rail against, don’t head for empty desert; they go to ports of entry to seek legal asylum, and there is nothing a wall would do to address that problem. Similarly, the vast majority of illegal drugs crossing the southern border are carried through legal entry points. There is a humanitarian crisis on the border however, although partly created by the Trump administration, but a wall doesn’t make sense to eliminate human trafficking or children locked away from their parents.

Regardless of whether you believe a wall should be built or not, we learned from high school civics class that Congress’ power lies in being able to create laws and appropriate money. This declaration violates Article 1 of the Constitution by spending money that Congress has not appropriated. If Congress doesn’t have the power of the purse- Congress doesn’t have power. Congress must not allow this overreaching executive authority. We must end our flirtation with authoritarianism and Constitutional Americans must demand a return to regular order. 

-Joe Register, Camdenton