President Trump has officially declared the US-Mexico border security crisis a national emergency. Is it?

“We’re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border…, one way or the other.  We have to do it,” President Trump said in the Rose Garden.

Speaker Pelosi has directly contradicted President Trump by claiming, “There is no crisis on our southern border,” and that, “President Trump has manufactured this crisis.”

Ok…, well…, let’s look at the facts.  Let’s look at the numbers.

According to “Investor’s Business Daily:”

“[Regarding] illegal immigration: Democrats and the mainstream press accuse President Donald Trump of manufacturing a crisis at the border. The numbers tell another story.”

“NPR’s ‘fact check,’ like countless others, dismissed [President] Trump’s claim as false because ‘illegal border crossings in the most recent fiscal year (ending in September 2018) were actually lower than in either 2016 or 2014.”

“What they aren’t telling you is border patrol agents apprehended more than 100,000 people trying to enter the country illegally in just October and November of last year. Or that that number is way up from the same two months the year before.”

“Nor do they mention that last year, the border patrol apprehended more than half a million people trying to get into the country illegally. And that number, too, is up from the year before.”

“Trump’s critics certainly don’t bother to mention that those figures only count illegals the border patrol caught.  It does not count the ones who eluded border patrol agents and got into the country.”

 

The Department of Homeland Security claims that about 20% of illegal border crossers make it into the country.  Other studies, however, say border agents fail to apprehend as many as 50% of illegal crossers.

Is that not a crisis at the border?

Wait…, there’s more.

“Pelosi and company also don’t bother to mention the fact that there are already between 12 million and 22 million illegals, depending on which study you use, in the country today already.”

I would venture to say there are probably even more that 22 million in the country.

Let’s put those numbers in perspective.

“At the high end, it means that the illegal population in the U.S. is larger than the entire population of countries like Syria, Chile, the Netherlands and Ecuador. Even if the number is just 12 million, that’s still more than the entire population of Sweden, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Ireland and New Zealand.

Isn’t having millions and millions in the country illegally, with thousands joining them every day, not a crisis at the border?

But wait…, there’s more.

“Critics also complain that Trump overstated the risk of illegal immigrants committing crimes. They all point to a report from the Cato Institute, a pro-immigration libertarian think tank. Cato did a statistical analysis of census data and concluded that incarceration rates for Hispanic illegals were slightly lower than those of the native-born.”

Oh goody!

“But the Center for Immigration Studies looked at federal crime statistics [as well].  It found that noncitizens accounted for more than 20% of federal convictions, even though they make up just 8.4% of the population.”

The state of Texas alone “Has been monitoring crimes committed by illegals.  It reports that from 2011 to 2018, it booked 186,000 illegal aliens.  Police charged them with a total of 292,000 crimes.  Those included 539 murders, 32,000 assaults, 3,426 sexual assaults, and almost 3,000 weapons charges.”

Maybe we should talk to the victims of those 539 murders, 32,000 assaults, 3,426 sexual assaults (in Texas alone), and see if they think there is a crisis at our southern border.

And all of this does not even take into account the smuggling of illegal drugs.  According to the “VeryWellmind” website, “The estimated cost of drug abuse in the United States, including illegal drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, is more than $820 billion a year and growing. Substance abuse in the U.S. costs society in increased healthcare costs, crime, and lost productivity.”

According to The National Institute on Drug abuse, “More than 70,200 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2017.”

Unquestionably, the overwhelming majority of dangerous illegal drugs pours through our southern border.

In 2018 alone, border agents seized 5,000 pounds of heroin, 60,000 pounds of cocaine, 80,000 pounds of meth, and 1,600 pounds of fentanyl.  And that’s what they caught.  How much made it over the border?

Maybe we should talk to the families of the “more than 70,200 Americans [who] died from drug overdoses in 2017,” all of those people who have had their lives ruined by illegal drugs, and all of their families, and see if they think there is a crisis at our southern border.

Then we have the whole issue of human trafficers, who smuggle women and children into our country for sex and as slaves.

So, after looking at the numbers, is there a national crisis at our southern border?

I believe the only answer we can responsibly give is “yes.”

Others, of course, put their politics before the safety of the American people.

“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,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement. “The President’s actions clearly violate the Congress’s exclusive power of the purse, which our Founders enshrined in the Constitution.”

They vowed Congress would “defend our constitutional authorities in the Congress, in the Courts, and in the public, using every remedy available.”

“The President’s declaration of a national emergency would be an abuse of his constitutional oath and an affront to the separation of powers. Congress has the exclusive power of the purse, and the Constitution specifically prohibits the President from spending money that has not been appropriated. … This is a gross abuse of power that cannot be tolerated,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said in a statement.

First of all, Mr. Nadler, all of the money that President Trump is talking about using has been “appropriated.”

And on a related note…, when former President Obama sent over $150 BILLION (in cash by the way) to Iran as part of the failed Iran Nuclear Deal, where exactly was that money “appropriated?”  Just sayin’.

So…, what gives President Trump “the right” to declare a national emergency anyway?

The National Emergencies Act (NEA) authorizes the president to declare a “national emergency.”  This legislation was signed into law by President Gerald Ford on September 14, 1976

A declaration under NEA triggers emergency authorities contained in other federal statutes. Past NEA declarations have addressed, among other things, the imposition of export controls and limitations on transactions and property from specified nations.  A national emergency was declared in 2001 after the September 11th terrorist attacks and has been renewed every year since then.

58 national emergencies have been declared since the National Emergency Act of 1976 was signed into law.

31 have been annually renewed and are currently still in effect.

Here’s a list of the presidents who declared national emergencies.

President Jimmy Carter:

Nov. 14, 1979 (still in effect): A national emergency in response to the Iran hostage crisis, which froze Iran’s assets in the United States.

President Ronald Reagan:

April 17, 1980: Further Prohibitions on Transactions with Iran, never terminated or continued;

Oct. 14, 1983: Continuation of Export Control Regulations, revoked in 1983.

March 30, 1984: Continuation of Export Control Regulations, revoked in 1985.

May 1, 1985: Prohibiting Trade and Certain Other Transactions Involving Nicaragua, revoked in 1990.

Sept. 9, 1985: Prohibiting Trade and Certain Other Transactions Involving South Africa (in response to apartheid), revoked 1991.

Jan. 17, 1986: Prohibiting Trade and Certain Transactions Involving Libya, revoked 2004.

April 8, 1988: Prohibiting Certain Transactions with Respect to Panama, revoked 1990.

President George H.W. Bush:

August 2, 1990: Blocking Iraqi Government Property and Prohibiting Transactions with Iraq, revoked 2004.

Sept. 30, 1990: Continuation of Export Control Regulations, revoked 1993.

Nov. 16, 1990: Chemical and Biological Weapons Proliferation, revoked 1994.

Oct. 4, 1991: Prohibiting Certain Transactions with Respect to Haiti, revoked 1994.

May 30, 1992: Blocking “Yugoslav Government” Property and Property of the Governments of Serbia and Montenegro, revoked 2003.

President Bill Clinton:

Sept. 26, 1993: Prohibiting Certain Transactions Involving UNITA (a political party in Angola), revoked 2003.

Sept. 30, 1993: Measures to Restrict the Participation by United States Persons in Weapons Proliferation Activities, revoked 1994.

June 30, 1994: Continuation of Export Control Regulations, revoked 1994.

Aug. 19, 1994: Continuation of Export Control Regulations, revoked 2001.

Sept. 29, 1994: Measures to Restrict the Participation by United States Persons in Weapons Proliferation Activities, revoked 1994.

Oct. 25, 1994: Blocking Property and Additional Measures with Respect to the Bosnian Serb- Controlled Areas of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, revoked 2003.

Nov. 14, 1994 (still in effect): Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, continued in November 2018.

Jan. 23, 1995 (still in effect): Prohibiting Transactions with Terrorists Who Threaten to Disrupt the Middle East Peace Process, continued in January 2018.

March 15, 1995 (still in effect): Prohibiting Certain Transactions with Respect to the Development of Iranian Petroleum Resources, continued in March 2018 and expanded in August 2018.

Oct. 21, 1995 (still in effect): Blocking Assets and Prohibiting Transactions with Significant Narcotics Traffickers, continued in October 2018.

March 1, 1996 (still in effect): Regulation of the Anchorage and Movement of Vessels with Respect to Cuba, modified by President Obama in 2016 and again by President Trump in February 2018.

May 22, 1997: Prohibiting New Investment in Burma, terminated in October 2016.

Nov. 3, 1997 (still in effect): Blocking Sudanese Government Property and Prohibiting Transactions with Sudan, continued in October 2018.

June 9, 1998: Blocking Property of the Governments of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), the Republic of Serbia, and the Republic of Montenegro, and Prohibiting New Investment in the Republic of Serbia in Response to the Situation in Kosovo, revoked in 2003.

July 4, 1999: Blocking Property and Prohibiting Transactions with the Taliban, revoked in 2002.

June 21, 2000: Blocking Property of the Government of the Russian Federation Relating to the Disposition of Highly Enriched Uranium Extracted from Nuclear Weapons, expired 2012.

Jan. 18, 2001: Blocking Property of the Government of the Russian Federation Relating to the Disposition of Highly Enriched Uranium Extracted from Nuclear Weapons, revoked in 2004.

President George W. Bush:

June 26, 2001 (still in effect): Blocking Property of Persons Who Threaten International Stabilization Efforts in the Western Balkans, continued in June 2018.

Aug. 17, 2001 (still in effect): Continuation of Export Control Regulations, continued August 2018.

Sept. 14, 2001 (still in effect): Declaration of National Emergency by Reason of Certain Terrorist Attacks, continued in September 2018.

Sept. 23, 2001 (still in effect): Blocking Property and Prohibiting Transactions with Persons who Commit, Threaten to Commit, or Support Terrorism, continued in September 2017.

March 6, 2003 (still in effect): Blocking Property of Persons Undermining Democratic Processes or Institutions in Zimbabwe, continued in March 2018.

May 22, 2003 (still in effect): Protecting the Development Fund for Iraq and Certain Other Property in Which Iraq has an Interest, continued in May 2018.

May 11, 2004 (still in effect): Blocking Property of Certain Persons and Prohibiting the Export of Certain Goods to Syria, continued in May 2018.

July 22, 2004: Blocking Property of Certain Persons and Prohibiting the Importation of Certain Goods from Liberia, revoked in November 2015.

Feb. 7, 2006: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Conflict in Côte d’Ivoire, terminated in September 2016.

June 16, 2006 (still in effect): Blocking Property of Certain Persons Undermining Democratic Processes or Institutions in Belarus, continued in June 2018.

Oct. 27, 2006 (still in effect): Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, continued in October 2018;

Aug. 1, 2007 (still in effect): Blocking Property of Persons Undermining the Sovereignty of Lebanon or Its Democratic Processes and Institutions, continued in July 2018.

June 26, 2008 (still in effect): Continuing Certain Restrictions with Respect to North Korea and North Korean Nationals, continued in October 2018.

President Barack Obama:

Oct. 23, 2009: Declaration of a National Emergency with Respect to the 2009 H1N1 Influenza Pandemic, was never terminated or continued.

April 12, 2010 (still in effect): Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Conflict in Somalia, continued in 2018.

Feb. 25, 2011 (still in effect): Blocking Property and Prohibiting Certain Transactions Related to Libya, continued in February 2018.

July 24, 2011 (still in effect): Blocking Property of Transnational Criminal Organizations, continued in July 2018.

May 16, 2012 (still in effect): Blocking Property of Persons Threatening the Peace, Security, or Stability of Yemen, continued in May 2012.

June 25, 2012: Blocking Property of the Government of the Russian Federation Relating to the Disposition of Highly Enriched Uranium Extracted from Nuclear Weapons, revoked in 2015.

March 6, 2014 (still in effect): Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine, continued in March 2018.

April 3, 2014 (still in effect): Blocking Property of Certain Persons with Respect to South Sudan, continued in March 2018.

May 12, 2014 (still in effect): Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Conflict in the Central African Republic, continued in May 2018.

March 8, 2015 (still in effect): Blocking Property and Suspending Entry of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Venezuela, continued in March 2018.

April 1, 2015 (still in effect): Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities, continued in March 2018.

Nov. 22, 2015 (still in effect): Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Burundi, continued in November 2018.

President Donald Trump:

Dec. 20, 2017: Blocking the Property of Persons Involved in Serious Human Rights Abuse or Corruption.

Sept. 12, 2018: Imposing Certain Sanctions in the Event of Foreign Interference in a United States Election.

Nov. 27, 2018: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Nicaragua.

Based on everything I’ve laid out here, President Trump’s declaring a national emergency IS NOT “plainly a power grab.”

This President HAS NOT “gone outside the bounds of the law.”

The President’s actions DO NOT “clearly violate the Congress’s exclusive power of the purse, which our Founders enshrined in the Constitution.”

The President’s declaration of a national emergency IS NOT “an abuse of his constitutional oath and an affront to the separation of powers.”

And, this IS NOT “a gross abuse of power that cannot be tolerated.”

 

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The President appealed to lawmakers in both parties to, “Rise above partisan politics and define victory as not winning for one party but winning for our country.”  My State of the Union address analysis: Part 2.

Liz Peek for Fox News reported that, “In a speech that was interrupted 102 times by applause, President Trump rocked the House, delivering remarks that were at times moving, funny, inspiring, feisty and visionary.”

I would have to totally agree with Ms. Peek here.  I was very impressed by The President’s tone, his overall presence, and his words.

“He appealed to lawmakers in both parties to rise above partisan politics and define victory as “not winning for one party but winning for our country.”

The President “Framed his speech as a celebration of two great occasions: the 75th anniversary of D-Day that liberated Europe [and saved the world’s civilization] from the Nazis and the 50th anniversary of America’s [Apollo 11] moon landing.  Heroes from both those historic undertakings were in the gallery, personifying the daring and selflessness that has characterized the United States throughout our history.”

He asked Democrats to partner with him in “choosing greatness” and to “keep freedom alive in our souls.”

“He exhorted Congress to ‘think of this very chamber, where lawmakers before you voted to end slavery, to build the railroads and the highways, to defeat fascism, to secure civil rights, to face down an evil empire.’”

The democrat side of the aisle honestly seemed petty and a bit foolish in comparison.

There was even a large group of democrat female representatives who wore white to represent something, or show some kind of unity.  They all characteristically chose to “thumb their noses” at President Trump’s accomplishments, and the country’s historic economic numbers.

Liz Peek added, “The Democrats also pouted as the president listed the economic gains made during his administration. They did not cheer when he said 5.3 million new jobs have been added, including 600,000 manufacturing jobs.”

“Nor did the Democrats cheer when the president cited the all-time low in African-American, Asian-American and Hispanic unemployment and the uptick in the incomes of blue-collar workers.”

“Do Democrats not approve of putting people to work?”

Do they not approve of 5 million people being lifted off of food stamps?

Do they not approve of hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs being brought back to our country?

Do they not approve of us being self-sufficient, energy-wise, in the world?

Do they not approve of our NATO allies finally kicking in their fair share for their own defense spending?

It sure appeared that way, as democrats declined to applaud, and even smirked at the country’s good fortune.

President Trump did manage to break through their grumpiness, however, by pointing to the record number of women working in the United States today and the all-time high number of women in Congress. Even the “women in white” couldn’t help but celebrate themselves.

One of The President’s guests in the gallery was a survivor of Nazi concentration camps who was enjoying his 81st birthday.  It was enjoyable to see the entire House join in singing “Happy Birthday” to him.  That was certainly a first at a State of the Union address.

“In fairness, even while calling for a ‘new era of cooperation,’ [President] Trump threw some partisan zingers into the mix.  He singled out bills recently introduced in Virginia and passed in New York that allow for late-term abortions, and said he would ask Congress to pass legislation banning such procedures.”

“In addition, The President hammered home his determination to secure our ‘dangerous’ border, and the need for a wall.  To make the point, he introduced some family members of an elderly couple killed by an illegal immigrant.  Democrats were not pleased.”

How can you not be concerned with illegal drugs pouting over our southern border?

How can you not be concerned with thousands of young girls and children being taken advantage of by human trafficers at our southern border?

How can you not be concerned with gang members and other dangerous individuals coming across our southern border and committing crimes against and taking the lives of our citizens?

Just who do these democrat representatives represent exactly?

They didn’t account for themselves very well during the State of the Union address in my opinion.

The President added that “Great nations do not fight endless wars,” which is a statement no one can really argue with, as he is winding down our engagements in Afghanistan and Syria.

Liz Peek commented, “But for sure, the most contentious issue, and the one that continues to hang over the country, is immigration. Trump said no other issue better illustrates the divide between the working class and members of the wealthy [elite] political class, who hide behind walls [and gates and armed guards] while blue-collar workers suffer the lower wages, overburdened schools, [crime] and depleted safety nets that illegal immigration causes.”

“It will be interesting to see how Democrats answer that charge.”

“President Trump asked us all to ‘rekindle the bonds of love and loyalty and memory that link us together as citizens, as neighbors, as patriots.’”

“He vowed, as he has before, to put America’s interests first and, notably, promised that America will never be a socialist country.”

“Even Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer applauded that one.”

A CBS poll, conducted during and directly after The President’s speech, showed that 76% of viewers liked what they heard.

Since polling numbers regarding The President typically seem to skew low; that would translate into an 85%-90% positive approval rating of The President’s speech.

I would tend to agree with them.

In retrospect, I’m glad The President didn’t take my advice and hold his own State of the Union address away from The Capitol.  He definitely came away here as being the bigger person, the more reasonable person and the more responsible person.

Congratulations Mr. President.

 

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President Trump asks The Congress to choose greatness.  My State of the Union address analysis: Part 1.

There were quite a few memorable moments from President Trump’s State of the Union address last night.  But it was at the end of his speech, when he was appealing directly to The Congress, that The President’s message especially resonated.

As the cameras panned the audience of elected Congress people and Senators, you could see that they were actually paying attention, intently listening to The President, as he pulled them in and attempted to enlist them all in his cause:

“Here tonight, we have legislators from across this magnificent republic. You have come from the rocky shores of Maine and the volcanic peaks of Hawaii; from the snowy woods of Wisconsin and the red deserts of Arizona; from the green farms of Kentucky and the golden beaches of California. Together, we represent the most extraordinary Nation in all of history.”

“What will we do with this moment?  How will we be remembered?”

“I ask the men and women of this Congress: Look at the opportunities before us! Our most thrilling achievements are still ahead. Our most exciting journeys still await. Our biggest victories are still to come. We have not yet begun to dream.”

“We must choose whether we are defined by our differences, or whether we dare to transcend them.”

“We must choose whether we will squander our inheritance, or whether we will proudly declare that we are Americans.  We do the incredible. We defy the impossible.  We conquer the unknown.”

“This is the time to re-ignite the American imagination.  This is the time to search for the tallest summit, and set our sights on the brightest star. This is the time to rekindle the bonds of love and loyalty and memory that link us together as citizens, as neighbors, as patriots.”

“This is our future, our fate, and our choice to make.  I am asking you to choose greatness.”

“No matter the trials we face, no matter the challenges to come, we must go forward together.”

“We must keep America first in our hearts.  We must keep freedom alive in our souls.  And we must always keep faith in America’s destiny, that one Nation, under God, must be the hope and the promise and the light and the glory among all the nations of the world!”

“Thank you. God Bless You, God Bless America, and good night!”

By the time he hit “thank you,’ it seemed like he had the audience mesmerized.

It seemed like for those last two minutes they all had dropped their partisan political guards just a bit, and we were all able to glimpse some of the potential that exists when our representatives choose to do their jobs like they were intended to do in the spirit of constructive compromise, with the best interests of our country and its people in mind.

Stay tuned for my more detailed analysis of The State of the Union address: Part 2 tomorrow.

 

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