How logic trumps national emergency

Jamar Kittling ’20, Staff Reporter

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Not too long ago, in the 2016 election for President, Republican candidate Donald Trump controversially promised that he would build a wall and Mexico would pay for it. Almost two years into his presidency, Mexico still has no plans nor reason to pay for President Trump’s wall.

 

Children were being unfairly separated from their families, caravans from central America have been travelling toward the U.S. border, meeting much resistance, and all the while, tensions between the two political parties have been on the rise.

 

Critics on both sides have been waiting to see how President Trump fulfills his campaign promises, especially his controversial wall. However,Trump still needed a way to finance his wall, meaning that he had to go through those who have the ability to delegate federal funds, or the power over the purse: Congress.

 

The Democrats in Congress, led bySchumer and Pelosi, offered resistance, and shortly afterward, the longest federal shutdown in American history began.

 

After this political debacle,Trump finally decided to bypass Congress by declaring a national emergency. However, by examining what President Trump has said and the statistics dismembering his neighbor. In when it has been decreasing ever and data, it is clearly apparent that this current “crisis” at the border is by no means a national emergency.

 

Trump has frequently argued for the wall by using fear tactics. Notable speeches during and after the government shutdown include his Oval Office address,the State of the Union address, and his declaration of a national emergency; in all three he tells of the danger that illegal immigrants pose to the American people.

 

He often would give a statistic in the thousands, “In the last two years, ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of aliens with criminal records including those charged or convicted of 100,000 assaults,30,000 sex crimes, and 4,000 violent killings. Over the years, thousands of Americans have been brutally killed by those who illegally entered our country and thousands more lives will be lost if we don’t act right now.”

 

Afterward, he would elaborate on specific cases, driving home the cruelness of the illegal immigrants: “In California, an air force veteran was raped, murdered, and beaten to death with a hammer by an illegal alien with a long criminal history. In Georgia, an illegal alien was recently charged with murder for killing, beheading, and Maryland, MS-13 gang members who arrived in the United States as unaccompanied minors were arrested and charged last year after viciously stabbing and beating a 16-year-old girl.” This use of fear-mongering would paint a dire depiction to the general public, like an army of criminals coming to invade our country, or illegal Mexican gang members running around stabbing people.

 

However, this talking point is instantly nullified by the almost obvious realization that more crimes against American citizens are committed by American citizens. The Huffington Post reports that the criminal conviction rates for illegal immigrants in Texas is consistently lower than that of the native born population: “‘As a percentage of their respective populations, there were 56 percent fewer criminal convictions of illegal immigrants than of native-born Americans in Texas in 2015,’ author Alex Nowrasteh writes.”

 

According to factcheck.org, the growth of the illegal immigrant population has been declining since the mid 2000s: “DHS estimated that the growth of the illegal immigrant population had slowed considerably, saying the population increased by 470,000 per year from 2000 to 2007, but only by 70,000 per year from 2010 to 2015.”

 

Furthermore, border apprehensions have fallen considerably as well: “Apprehensions on the Southwest border peaked in 2000 at 1.64million and have generally declined since, totaling 396,579 in 2018.” Both of these statistics show that illegal immigration as a whole has been going down.

 

How exactly, then, is illegal immigration a national emergency when it has been decreasing ever since President George W. Bush? Humorously enough, when Jim Acosta and another reporter questioned Trump about this after he declared a national emergency,Trump instantly dismissed him,saying he had “better numbers.” Much to my amazement, Trump and his supporters still contend that illegal immigration is an issue that needs to be addressed immediately, and the only feasible way is to spend billions on a wall.

 

Illegal immigration is not a principle source of crime, and has been declining for the past decade: clearly not an imminent crisis that the whole nation would have to redirect funds from other helpful agencies for. A wall is not a panacea to border troubles, as there are more efficient, modern tactics to address illegal crossings.

The wall has already gone through Congress and received the funds thought appropriate. Ultimately, the national emergency was completely unnecessary, deployed only for President Trump to get what he wants: his big, shiny wall to fulfill his campaign promise and appease his conservative supporters.

 

When it comes to the issue of the wall debate itself, partisan politics dissolved the matter into absurdity. It will be nice to process individuals who come into this country to assure that gang members or criminals do not commit crimes against its citizens, but, once again, this issue is far from being of imminent importance and we do not need awall to fix it.

 

Climate change and poverty are extant while Latin Americans still suffer in their home countries as they try to escape to the Land of the Free. An emergency about a campaign promise can go on the backburner for now.