Donald Trump has muddied the waters yet again. And the question that is now uppermost in the minds of people in the United States of America is whether last Friday’s declaration of emergency will, after all, facilitate the construction of the wall to ward off immigrants on the US-Mexican border in Tijuana. The President has defied robust criticism from both the Republicans and Democrats, not least the considerably truncated allocation by Congress of funds for the project. By any reckoning, it is a desperate move by an impetuous President. Not many will readily buy his argument that the drastic initiative, in the immediate aftermath of the prolonged shutdown, is intended to curb the spread of crime and drugs ~ “We’re talking about an invasion of our country, with drugs, with human traffickers, with all types of criminals and gangs.” It is hard not to wonder whether the canker, that plagues all or nearly most countries, necessitates the use of emergency powers. Of course, Bill Clinton, George Bush and Barack Obama had declared emergency for varying periods; but the measure was in response to crises overseas. More accurately, Mr Trump’s proclamation is testament to his inbuilt aversion to the immigrant… whether from Mexico or from any of the six countries of the Muslim bloc. It is quite another story that Saudi Arabia, whose nationals had perpetrated the horror of 9/11, has been excluded from the “not wanted” list. The emergency has swiftly been debunked as “fear mongering for political ends, unlawful, and a violation of the US Constitution” ~ a faint echo of the Emergency that was proclaimed in India in June 1975. The President must have got the message from the response of Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives, tongue firmly in cheek ~ “He admits it’s a #FakeTrumpEmergency. Hear him say it: ‘I didn’t need to do this, but I’d rather do it much faster.’ This is plainly a power grab by a disappointed President, who has gone outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process.”
That sharp disconnect between intent and action could complicate the legal battles if the declaration is challenged in court by states that stand to lose federal money or claim that the President is abusing his authority ~ “I’ll sign the final papers … and we will have a national emergency, and we will then be sued, and they will sue us in the Ninth Circuit and then we’ll end up in the Supreme Court and hopefully we’ll get a fair shake and we’ll win in the Supreme Court just like the travel ban.” Some Republicans have also criticised the move as setting a dangerous precedent, which could embolden a future Democratic President to declare emergency for a cause such as climate change or gun control. For now, Donald Trump stands in unsplendid isolation.