Trump’s border ‘national emergency’ is not a priority


Zila Sanchez, Managing Editor

In his call for a national emergency, on Friday, Feb. 15, President Donald Trump announced his plan to free billions of dollars to build the Mexico-U.S. border wall after Congress did not give him what he demanded.

The executive decision came after he refused to sign a funding bill in December which led to a 35-day partial government shutdown. The funding bill he will now sign actually has less money for the wall than a bill the Senate had proposed last year.

The Senate capped the amount invested for this project, with the legislation allowing $1.375 billion for the current fencing at the border while Trump wanted $5.7 billion for the construction of a 200-mile wall.

In the past, presidents have utilized emergency authority to achieve goals. However, none have called for them the way Trump has, despite his statement regarding other presidents who have signed national declarations “for far less important things in many cases.”

In 2013, former president Barack Obama faced backlash when he pushed for the national debt ceiling to be raised and move the Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare) forward.

The shutdown ended when the Senate came to a consensus to raise the debt ceiling, and Obamacare was not defunded.

Then, it was a matter of debt and healthcare. Now, the funding is in regard to what Trump calls a threat to “security, safety, and financial-being of all Americans.”

“We’re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border, and we’re going to do it one way or another,” Trump said. “I expect to be sued… we’ll win, I think.”

He declared a national emergency because he does not want to look like he has lost, but many feel as though building the wall is not a priority.

In fact, only four in 10 people favored building the wall, according to research done by The Washington Post. Less than half the people surveyed were convinced by the president’s argument claiming the wall will strengthen the border and prevent potential threats from coming into the country.

During his speech, he said the nation is facing an “invasion” of drugs and the border would very easily stop that flow.

However, it is not as easy as that. Most drugs are coming into the U.S. through ports of entry and through the mail.

Trump claims these statements are a lie, but even his former Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said illegal drugs are mostly coming in through ports of entry.

Many would agree our country has much bigger fish to fry, with threats closer to home than the one he claims are migrating across the border.

In Flint, Michigan, residents have been suffering the battle for clean water since 2014. They are not the only ones fighting against trace amounts of lead in city water, an environmental injustice. Cities like Pittsburgh, Chicago, Milwaukee and Baltimore have also been in violation of traceable lead.

Instead of funding a $5 billion wall, that money should be used to push for an environmental effort in both investing more renewable energy and increasing the funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Relying on fossil fuel for energy is neither sustainable nor clean. The budget for renewable energy currently stands at $2 billion, meaning Trump wanted more money for a wall than to invest in energy. The EPA is the first defense for clean water and air, protection of endangered species and land conservation, and it has has been undermined by the current administration.

It is illogical to invest more in a border than the environment which should be sustained for generations to come.

In educating those future generations, the integrity and structure of public K-12 education is vital. Many schools across the country are old and need of updates, like an expansion to accommodate growing enrollment.

Title I is the primary source of aid in public education. It provides federal funding to schools that serve students. More than half of all public schools in the U.S. benefit from the program.

Investing in the education of members of our community is more sensible than trying to isolate ourselves.

In short, the wall is nothing more than a symbol of where the administration’s morals lie. Trump and his allies will continue to use the same rhetoric to convince the American people that there is a real threat to the community, rather than trying to invest in our communities.