Column: Is the national emergency truly an emergency?
President Donald Trump declared a national emergency regarding the flow of immigrants at the southern border of the United States.
Is the influx of immigrants from Latin America truly reason enough for a national emergency? Is the crime issue truly at the border, or should we seek other measures of crime prevention?
President Trump has been insistent throughout his campaign and presidency, often emphasizing that the crime rate in America would significantly decrease if the amount of immigrants in the United States decreased.
According to a study of immigrant crime and incarceration rates by the CATO Institute in 2017, “Legal and illegal immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated than natives.” Access to such information counteracting the president’s claims is quite easy, which calls into question the motivation for the strong push to build a border wall.
The study also stated that “President Donald Trump issued an executive order directing the Department of Homeland Security to deport most illegal immigrants who come in contact with law enforcement. His order is based on the widespread perception that illegal immigrants are a significant source of crime in the United States.”
This perception is based on stereotypes rather than data. Peter Baker wrote for The New York Times that following his declaration, President Trump stated “It’s an invasion.” “We have an invasion of drugs and criminals coming into our country,” he added.
The National Emergencies Act is rather vague and does not give strict guidelines for what is and is not considered a national emergency. Therefore with enough justification, the president can declare a national emergency which grants access to funding that is otherwise unavailable.
Trump stated, “I didn’t need to do this, but I’d rather do it much faster”.
My question is, why is this the only solution the president will push for? Why have the crime rates not been addressed in more effective ways? The amount of drugs being imported is entirely too large for immigrants to carry across the southern border into the United States.
So, would a border wall decrease drug trafficking as much as the president claims, or should the United States put more funding towards the U.S. Border Patrol to address the large number of drugs “slipping” through entry ports?
Rather than constructing a wall, more resources to effectively stop traffickers and criminals would be ideal and less costly.