The Daily Aztec

Declaring a national emergency is the wrong move

We must call this move what it is — an attempt to end-run the constitution in a manner the likes of which we have not seen from an American president in recent history.

by Dylan Meisner, Contributor

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After signing a budget into law on Friday, President Donald Trump announced his plan to declare a national emergency and redirect military funding towards the construction of a wall on the southern border.

We must call this move what it is an attempt to end-run the constitution in a manner the likes of which we have not seen from an American president in recent history.

It is a move that spits in the face of our country’s constitution, and if allowed will denigrate the American office of the presidency to that of a tin-pot dictatorship.

The only move by a modern American president comparable to this situation came in 2014 when then-President Barack Obama attempted to temporarily suspend federal immigration law with the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA.

And when the Supreme Court correctly struck down the case as unconstitutional, conservatives applauded the decision.

Fast forward five years, and now a conservative president is attempting to subvert the constitution in an extraordinarily similar fashion.

Congress was meant to have near complete control of the power to spend, not the executive.

This is made explicitly clear in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution.

Furthermore, I support the idea that America ought to do more to stop illegal crossings at the southern border.

According to the best available statistics provided by the White House, 31 percent of women who cross the southern border illegally are sexually assaulted.

This is clearly a humanitarian crisis that requires immediate, but constitutional, action.

It bewilders me as to why the president doesn’t use the constitutional options in front of him.

10 US Code § 284 clearly grants the president the authority to build barriers to subvert drug corridors, where a large quantity of said sexual violence occurs.

He could easily use this legislation to build barriers where they are most necessary.

Another option would have been to give a large block grant to the Department of Homeland Security to shore up the border without specifically designating it for a wall.

This move would have been the most politically expedient, as it would have allowed Democrats to tell their supporters that they stopped wall funding, and the border would have been secured, leaving Trump supporters happy.

What this situation at large truly uncovers is a simple fact the GOP is not the party of limited government and fiscal responsibility.

The new spending bill will once again blow out the debt, and in ways that would make the Obama-era deficits blush.

The Trump tax cuts were a success in that they brought in record amounts of income to the federal government, but with spending left unchecked, the debt and deficit are sure to continue to bloat.

President Ronald Reagan once said “you’ll never believe how much government you’ll never miss.”

Reagan is in many ways the presidential patron saint of modern conservatism, but the idea that he would be pleased with the right wing big-government style of the modern GOP is laughable.

Republicans raised hell when President Obama attempted to suspend federal immigration law with DAPA and yet they remain largely silent on the topic of this gross perversion of law and order.

Republicans decried the growing debt and deficit under President Obama, and now after two years of controlling both Congress and the White House, the national debt continues to balloon, recently hitting $22 trillion for the first time ever.

With the Democratic Party embracing socialism and the Republicans embracing big government and an increasing level of disrespect for the enumerated powers granted to government by the framers of the constitution, America’s original vision of limited government and abundant personal liberty have never been more at risk.

Dylan Meisner is a freshman studying political science. You can follow him on Twitter @DylMeisner.

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