We Hear You: Declaring a National Emergency at the Border

Ken McIntyre /

Editor’s note: Border security and the president’s power to declare a national emergency to address it—as he did Friday—remain priorities for The Daily Signal’s audience. This week’s selection of comments reflects that. Write us at [email protected]—Ken McIntyre

Dear Daily Signal: As a counselor in a prison, I could not count the number of inmates I’ve had to interview in Spanish, and in other languages as well (“4 Things to Know About Trump’s Ability to Declare an Emergency to Build a Wall”).

America became mighty because its citizens followed an “I can do it myself” ideology. They also learned another ideology: “Together, we can do anything.”

Later immigrants coming to America seemed to be cut from that same mold. Present-day immigrants are fleeing their nations because they lack this discipline. Instead they come to the USA seeking free things that they couldn’t or wouldn’t provide for themselves.

Previous to modern times, immigrants came promising that they would not be dependent on anyone. These new illegal immigrants refuse even to learn the language spoken by the majority of our nation.

On entry, the invader goes to the government and says, “House me, feed me, clothe me. Speak to me only in my native tongue, and give me money to spend.”

They settle into communities that speak their native language.

Twenty years later, they are still in their group, speaking their native language, getting food and housing and even medical and clothing expenses from the government. Their children still speak the language of their parents, and likely went to a school that let them.

This is the modern immigrant. Churches and other charity groups felt they were acting as good Samaritans for all those 20 years.

The law states that immigrants will care for themselves and not get government assistance until they become citizens. They cannot expect every American to take care of them.—Rex Whitmer

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We all need to contact every member of Congress to protest their refusal to protect the voting citizens (legal voters, that is).—Diane Woodard

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It needs to sink in that love him or hate him, President Trump is trying to do the most important job a president is given: keeping the people safe.

The Democrats are 100 percent about destroying Trump. This is not an open debate, it’s a fact borne out by the endless actions for which he has been savagely attacked that President Obama also did, without producing a peep.

On June 30, 2014, Obama addressed the people and said we have “an actual humanitarian crisis on the border that only underscores the need to drop the politics and fix our immigration system.”  

“In recent weeks we’ve seen a surge of unaccompanied children arrive at the border, brought here and to other countries by smugglers and traffickers,” Obama said. “The journey is unbelievably dangerous for these kids. The children who are fortunate enough to survive it will be taken care of while they go through the legal process, but in most cases that process will lead to them being sent back home.”

So today’s radical, left-controlled media are calling Obama a liar, as they profess to the world that the border issue is a manufactured crisis?—Anthony Alafero

Your White House correspondent, Fred Lucas, quotes commentator Erick Erickson’s tweet that it is “only a matter of time before some progressive president declares climate change a national emergency and uses eminent domain to shutter the coal mines.”

Hello? Mr. Erickson? President Obama did exactly that. Fortunately for those who earn their livings, pay their taxes, and support their families by working for the coal industry, Trump rescinded Obama’s executive order and put coal miners back to work.

Unlike the “nonessential” government workers who had their paychecks held up, but will receive all their back pay, the coal miners who lost their jobs as a result of Obama’s executive order never got back the pay they lost. But they don’t count, do they?

When Obama couldn’t get Congress to pass the laws he wanted, he told the public that he had “a phone and a pen,” and if the Congress wouldn’t act, he would. The Democrats didn’t have a problem with that, did they?

Activist federal court judges didn’t have a problem with Obama’s unconstitutional executive order creating Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. But when Trump issued an executive order to rescind Obama’s unconstitutional DACA order, those same courts ruled against Trump and allowed Obama’s order.to stand.

My belief is that President Trump, as commander in chief, has the authority to use funds from the defense budget to build a border wall in the interests of national security. I suspect that Trump will act when he is ready and not before.—Drew Page

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This whole useless wall thing is past being stupid. It’s now become some moronic testament to a monument to honor a moron. 

It’s funny in the way that such a monument would be graffitied and ridiculed, but Trump sees a gleaming chrome symbol to his greatness.

On the positive side, this article actually makes sense—a first time for Fred Lucas not to include obvious propaganda. Unless it was written to advocate that the wall be built by the military, which it kinda is at the end.

Or maybe that part is to show how inept the process of using uncountable military funding can be.—William Robert

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Kevin McAleenan, U.S. Customs & Border Protection commissioner, supports walls for the parts of the border that are the most threatened, not the complete border.  He knows the problem well and what is best for America.

This is what Trump wants too. The poor and/or harmful illegal immigrants are draining our welfare system and overwhelming our schools. We need to spend the monies they want to help our legal citizens.

Survey question:  Do you agree that Congress should fund walls for parts of the border?—Pat Ellis, Clinton, Miss.

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This nonsense could be avoided by telling the Defense Department to go defend our southern border. The Army Corps of Engineers, an agency of the Defense Department, is often involved with major construction of edifices necessary to the defense of the nation, betterment of life, and production of energy.

Construction engineers are able to accomplish so much during war because they get a lot of practice during peacetime. Give the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff the order to put a barrier between Mexico and the U.S., and he will proceed to do just that.—David Rumbaugh

4 Things to Know About Trump's Ability to Declare Emergency, Build Wall https://t.co/stvshP4Pew @DailySignal #AAG

— All American Girl (@AIIAmericanGirI) January 10, 2019

Presidents of both parties have issued emergency declarations under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which applies to economic sanctions against foreign countries, transnational terrorist groups, and hostile individuals. These emergency declarations are published in the Federal Register and on the White House website and have to be renewed periodically.

As long as an emergency declaration is for a limited amount of time, the president is within his constitutional powers as commander in chief to issue such a declaration, if necessary, to build enhanced border security infrastructure.—Bert Chapman

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Whether or not Trump uses the power, where the case for a national emergency can be made I would encourage future Democrat presidents to do just that.

Congress and the courts still hold the hammer, so the Constitution remains protected.—Paul Smith

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Article 2 of the Constitution vests executive power solely in the president of the United States of America. Executive power is absolute to the president. No other branch of government possesses such authority. 

This executive power to act includes the president’s absolute authority to protect the borders of the United States. Notwithstanding what Democrats and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opine about a border wall being “immoral,” we must consider the nation’s borders in the context of national security. 

By border protection, the United States, its people, culture, and institutions are defended. Presidential powers to protect America’s borders derive from constitutional authority. Immigration asylum policies are derived from congressional statute. Such executive power, therefore, prevails and preempts congressional statutory law. 

Plain and simple: In the arena of constitutional authority vs. statutory authority, the Constitution wins hands down every time. 

President Trump’s immigration and border asylum policies, and executive actions, must prevail over a recent federal district court order enjoining the president in restricting asylum protection for  undocumented aliens, whether they arrive on this nation’s southern doorsteps by caravan, rush the border, or voluntarily render themselves to Border Patrol authorities.  

Step up to the plate, Supreme Court justices.  Review the order from the 9th Circuit most expeditiously given its impact on national security. This is not the time to tarry on such a significant issue.—Earl Beal, Terre Haute, Ind.

.@realDonaldTrump has a strong legal argument for declaring a national emergency at the border. Here are his options. https://t.co/SsgJYrztoN via @malcolm_john @DailySignal

— Ken McIntyre (@KenMac55) January 13, 2019

Why the President Can Declare an Emergency

Dear Daily Signal: Yes, President Trump has a strong argument for acting at the southern border, as John Malcolm writes in his commentary  (“Trump Has a Strong Legal Argument That He Can Declare National Emergency at Border”). There is no question at all that what is happening at the border is a national emergency, a crisis of major proportions that Democrats want to ignore.

But we all know that should Trump go the national emergency route, the Democrats will start filing lawsuits and some judge will issue an injunction preventing him from addressing the issue directly. Then it will wander through the courts for years with an uncertain outcome.

Trump is right on this. But being right still may not get what the nation needs now: border security. And that starts with a physical barrier to help prevent all of the bad things happening at our border, of which illegal immigration is only one.—Wayne Peterkin

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I like Ted Cruz’s plan to use the cartels’ drug money to pay for the wall. That sounds like Mexico paying for the wall.—David Gearhart

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Only one question: Can the president do this in a way that stops or runs over the 9th Circuit (9th Circus) fast enough?—Robert Arvanitis

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What is the problem with President Trump’s declaring a national emergency to safeguard the lives and property of American citizens? Clinton, Bush, and Obama did it several times over, for reasons less important than national security.

This has nothing to do with brown-skinned Hispanic people. People from other nations, terrorist nations, also are coming in through the southern border. Build the wall.—Mario Mere

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I agree with John Malcolm that the president does have the authority to declare a national emergency—and he should. Thousands of migrants encamped on our southern border is a humanitarian crisis, as well as a possible mass crossing of a sovereign border, overwhelming those providing border security.

However, the declaration of a national emergency, under a law passed by Democrats, will without a doubt be challenged by liberals who believe in the “right to migrate” and open borders.

I would hazard the guess that the legal challenges will be filed within the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has the dubious distinction of being the most overturned by the Supreme Court.

Open borders, as advocated by the pope, the U.N., and Democrats must be accomplished within a framework of laws.

Look at the European Union. It is being overwhelmed by immigration, primarily from Muslim states. Crime is rampant, “no go” zones where Sharia law is paramount over national law (and police and firefighters will not enter) are becoming prevalent.

The Dems need to look there to see what will happen here if their policies come to fruition.

Yes, we are a nation of immigrants. My family has roots from Ireland that go back to the 1860s. Every generation of my family has produced men who have served this country proudly. However, they immigrated through ports of entry and within the existing legal framework.—William Downey

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The president has been obstructed from his responsibility and authority on several occasions by federal district courts.

I believe he is preparing for potential obstruction by clearing a pathway for rapid response. He is not a man who will back down from his responsibilities, nor will he make the same mistake twice.—Jason Traxler

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Even Chris Wallace of Fox News is clueless on what a national emergency constitutes. He claimed that the GOP went postal when Obama “pardoned” hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients.

Just because something is an issue in need of resolution does not make it a national emergency. Having 50,000 people entering illegally, every month, along with drugs, criminals, gang members, and even a few terrorists, is.—Anthony Alafero

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Some people had no problem with Obama on anything. He totally wasted $3 billion on “cash for clunkers,” and not one thing was said.

And Hillary Clinton recently made a speech saying the major problem in Europe is open borders and too many immigrants. It seems she needs to make that same speech here for her twisted party.—Rodney Steward

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I hope Trump does declare a national emergency and begins to build the wall as a matter of national security. As soon as he does, you can count on an activist federal judge issuing a ruling declaring the move to be “unconstitutional.”

At that time, Trump should press the Supreme Court to hear and decide upon the constitutionality of his power to declare a national emergency and act accordingly to deal with it.—Drew Page

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Consider this: Trump’s emergency order should specify that all funds will be used to construct the border wall in Texas.

Any suit challenging the lawfulness of the order should be transferred to the federal court in San Antonio having primary jurisdiction over the matter. Any appeals would be directed to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

Funds already authorized and not spent should be used to build the wall in California.—Jim Fuscaldo

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You have to ask yourself, why all of a sudden since October are there so many illegal aliens traveling to come here? They know that they need to come legally, yet risk their lives and their own children’s lives.

Someone has to be behind this scheme to convince them to come illegally. This has come up because we have needed a border wall for such a long time, and it keeps getting pushed off.

The migrants must take responsibility and come in the right way. Too many other issues with child sex trafficking, drugs, MS-13 gang members, and others who could care less as long as they can get free stuff and entitlements.

How is this right or fair to those who came legally, and to U.S. citizens? There is no ability to continue to redistribute any wealth of entitlements when the money runs out.

We need the border wall. It’s become a nightmare. If we don’t enforce the laws of the land and have boundaries, we have no country.—Debbie Johnson 

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Possibly Trump’s biggest stumbling block is that many GOP leaders have strongly advised him (and said so publicly) that declaring a national emergency would be a mistake even if he ends up technically able to do it.

If for no other reason,  it sets a precedent that a president can declare an emergency to bypass Congress’ constitutional appropriation authority for any political reason important to the president. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., mentioned “seizing power plants by declaring climate change a national emergency.”

If any lesson can be taken from this debate, it is this: Anything you declare the right to do now, the other party can claim that right later when they get elected.

It’s important to think long and hard about what genie you’re letting out of the bottle and what you can live with.—Edward Buatois

Mixed Reviews of Ben Sasse on Civility

Dear Daily Signal: I read through your article about Sen. Ben Sasse (“Ben Sasse’s Wise Counsel for a Lonely, Polarized Country”) I think he is quite intelligent, and of course his specialty is U.S. history.

However, I wish he would work more closely with our president. I sometimes feel is he a member of the Republican intelligentsia, which wants to be in charge.

We have had so many scholarly people making all sorts of decisions for us “common people.” We all know community and family have been suffering. I hope Sasse has the nerve to stress the failing family ethic of black Americans.

As far as troop withdrawals, who among The Heritage Foundation staff has served in Afghanistan?  Who, by and large, volunteers for military service?  I guarantee you there are few from the Ivy League schools, and even fewer who were Fulbright scholars.

The professional military leaders, the talking heads, think tank analysts, and senators have gotten things wrong time and again in the Mideast, and even in Europe today.

Many of us want the U.S. out of the never-ending quagmire. But the know-it-alls say they have a plan to prevail. Proof, please.

President Trump has given the generals almost two years to turn things around in Afghanistan. The U.S. and the Afghan government control only about 20 percent of the territory in the country; that’s pitiful after 17 years. Cost in lives, wounded, funds?

One thing is certain: So-called experts dominate the media. However, they rarely seem to solve anything. They do publish scathing articles and books.–Mike Cloncs, Alexandria, Ind.

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I don’t appreciate your sending me a Daily Signal email with anything positive about an anti-Trump, RINO such as Sen. Ben Sasse. If this is what you are about, you can remove me from the mailing list.—Pete Cunningham

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I hope everyone reads your article and Sen. Ben Sasse’s book. I am fed up with the hatefulness and division in Washington and everywhere else in our country. Our politicians are awful.

The swamp in Washington should be drained. I pray every day that Trump would stop tweeting and stop bashing his own staff and fellow leaders.

Civility does not exist in Washington. Hate has taken over common sense. Some politicians are making decisions along party lines that are bad for America.

I pray for America’s healing every day.—Pat Ellis, Clinton, Miss.

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Ben Sasse? I was excited to get daily emails from The Daily Signal at The Heritage Foundation. However, you have to be kidding.

If you are a Republican on television with Colbert, you are a traitor. Period. Any more of this nonsense, I am out.—Charles Fox, Bells, Texas

This and That

Dear Daily Signal: In her commentary, “John Allen Chau’s Crime Was Wanting to Promote ‘Wrong’ Beliefs,” Katrina Trinko writes: “Are we really serving the people of North Sentinel Island, who shot at Chau with arrows before presumably killing him on a later date, by abandoning them?”

The people who live on North Sentinel Island don’t want visitors. No missionaries, no salesmen, no do-gooders trying to make their lives “better.” They want to be left alone. “Serve them” by not screwing them. Is that so difficult a concept?

It’s a shame that John Allen Chau was killed there for his beliefs, and for trying to “do good” for the inhabitants. But he knew the risk and he knew the prohibition, and he knew they wanted to be left alone. Chau got what he wanted: to be a martyr.

Leave it at that.  Let’s hope and pray that he didn’t bring some disease to the island for which they have no resistance. If the Sentinelese are all dead soon, Chau’s name will be mud for centuries to come.—Ken Mitchell, Citrus Heights, Calif.

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I love “Morning Bell,” “Heritage Explains,” and the “SCOTUS 101” podcast. I recently heard “The Right Side of History” podcast for the first time, and it also lived up to the character and integrity of The Heritage Foundation.

I’m 47 and grew up in two Southern Baptist parochial schools. So I learned about American history and government. I didn’t pay it much attention until my sophomore year of high school. So, I have forgotten most of what I knew.

Therefore, I would appreciate your recommendations on what to read to re-educate myself. I trust your recommendations because, like you, I am a conservative. Thank you for giving us conservatives a voice.—Keri Lynn Siegel, Delray Beach, Fla.

Editor’s note: For a good start, check out Heritage Foundation scholar Lee Edwards’ helpful “Reading the Right Books: A Guide for the Intelligent Conservative.”

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Just an opinion from an old guy. There is an Buffalo Springfield song from 1966 that begins: “There’s something happening here / What it is ain’t exactly clear.”

I have serious concerns with the constant erosion of voting throughout the continental United States. Democrats and Republicans have control of this. We no longer are able to vote for our choice. It’s their choice. Period.

I read that 97 members of the House are communists or socialists. Nancy Pelosi, an advocate for China as well as Obamacare, is speaker of the House again.

I am sure there are far greater minds than mine out there, and they are not only aware of this but many other hidden agendas. Some of those have solutions to eliminate those harmful events. Implementing them does seem to be an issue.—Rexford O. Ames

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I created a petition on Change.org for the attorney general to appoint a new special counsel to investigate criminal misconduct to influence the 2016 presidential election through 1) the Clinton email and Clinton Foundation investigations and 2) all aspects of the Trump/Russia collusion story and resulting FBI counterintelligence investigation.[

A new special counsel is needed, in addition to Robert Mueller, to uncover the whole truth about the criminal conspiracy to influence the 2016 election.

Mueller’s tiny scope consists of solely investigating Donald Trump and his associates, family, and business for collusion with Russia. A large body of evidence indicates many people not covered in Mueller’s scope committed crimes to help elect Hillary Clinton president.

Mueller is not investigating Clinton, the Democratic National Committee, and conspirators in the Obama administration–such as former FBI Director James Comey and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch–for their criminal actions to influence the campaign.

Many Americans are frustrated by the never-ending Mueller investigation, which has not found any evidence of Trump/Russia collusion.—Bert Ameche

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Term limits would slice the corruption that is running around Washington and the interest of the people would be best represented.

Ask yourself: How can a congressman make $7 million on a salary of $174,000 a year in just four years? And those congressmen who have been in office for many years have numerous ties to lobbyists and sell their votes for stocks or shares.

Term limits would interrupt long-term relationships with those who desire to buy or steal votes.

Think term limits for all politicians. You want comments. This one is mine.—Joe Aguda, New Orleans

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In general, I have liked your articles. But Dennis Prager’s commentary on Sen. Mitt Romney’s criticism of President Trump was pretty hard on him (“Mitt Romney Fails Again“). I haven’t seen an article explaining Romney’s side yet. That would be fair.—David Braithwaite

Sarah Sleem and Courtney Joyner helped to compile this edition of “We Hear You.”