The decision of the president of the United States, Donald Trump, to declare a national emergency on the southern border opened an unprecedented chapter in his fight against Congress to build a wall between his country and Mexico.
Trump said on Friday at the White House that the measure seeks to face a border security crisis. He said that they had an invasion of drugs and criminals entering the country.
The president seeks to finance the border wall he promised during his campaign with budgeted resources for military construction projects, bypassing the Democratic majority opposition in the House of Representatives.
But Democratic leaders and even some Republicans questioned the legality of the step taken by Trump, which anticipates that the president will face new challenges in the coming days.
But Democratic leaders and even some Republicans questioned the legality of the step taken by Trump, which anticipates new challenges for him in the coming days.
Peter Shane, expert in the United States separation of powers, warns that it is a Trump´s made-up crisis to play with the fears and prejudices of its electoral base.
What follows is a summary of Shane´s telephone interview, a law professor at the Ohio State University.
Does the president of the United States have the constitutional power to declare a national emergency?
The president is not asserting his constitutional power; is acting under a statute that Congress passed in 1976 called the National Emergency Law, which allows presidents to declare national emergencies This law does not really have a national emergency definition to limit the president’s judgment.
Declaring a national emergency does not automatically give him the power to do what he wants either. The statement must be very specific as to what powers the president intends to use.
Trump argues that he wants to protect the United Statesfrom a criminals and drugs invasion coming through the Mexican border.Is it a legitimate argument to support the decision?
Will Hurd, Republican, ex- CIA agent and a Congress member who represents the largest area of territory on the Texas border, does not ignore national security problems and he has opposed the wall for being a waste of money, and an ineffective way to deal with drugs or any other threat to national security.
President Trump repeatedly uses the word invasion, but there is no invasion taking place.
Are you saying that this is a made-up crisis?
That is right. The only circumstance that caused the President’s use of national emergency was his inability to persuade Congress to give him the money to build the wall.
This is a political movement. I think this is a made-up crisis: the president exaggerated what happens on the border and basically tries to play with his electoral base fears and prejudices, hoping that he looks tough in the fight against crime.
But the fact is that the illegal immigration flow has gone down, violent crime has been declining for a long time, not only during the Trump administration.
What is happening today on the border is not a greater crisis or a minor crisis. In fact, it could be said that it is much less a crisis now than in previous governments, when economic conditions in Mexico were much worse and the pressure on immigration was much greater.
You published a book in 2009 about how the executive power threatens US democracy. Do you see this specific emergency declaration as a threat to democracy?
This declaration is part of the Trump government’s general approach to the separation of powers. Each branch has its own powers, but if one branch decides: “We will do everything we can, that exists in the statutes or in the Constitution, within the limits of the English language,” then the system will collapse very quickly.
The reason why President Trump is pushing so hard is because he does not want to look weak in front of a population segment that is far from being a majority, but he believes it is fundamental for his re-election.
When presidents behave in this way they really undermine the legislative branch, exert great pressure on the judiciary and do not respect the democratic ideals and the rule of law.
Trump accuses the Democrats of obstructing his government. Is he right in that, since he was elected with the promise to build the wall on the border with Mexico?
He was chosen to build a wall that Mexico would pay. He was not chosen to build a wall with about US $5 billion and US $8 billion from the American taxpayers.
And in any case, President (Barack) Obama was elected with many campaign promises that Senator (Mitch) McConnell said he was determined to frustrate.
What the Democrats do is, what the Republicans should have done in the first place: to supervise the president, to control his statements veracity and to make sure that the law is truly respected.
The Democrats are doing what you would expect any party to do in Congress, particularly if it is not the president’s own party.
Fuente: BBC Mundo
Translated by: José Espinoza