Many legal analysts who watched Donald Trump declare a national emergency over immigration on Friday thought the president had weak legal grounds for doing so. In particular, many thought Trump hurt his own case by admitting, right there in the White House Rose Garden: “I didn’t need to do this, but I’d rather do it much faster."
Over the weekend, I linked to Jack Goldsmith’s article on President Trump’s use of national emergency power to come up with the money to build more border fencing. Goldsmith took no position at this early date on the legality of Trump’s move. However, his initial view is that hysteria over it is misplaced and that Trump’s legal position is plausible.
Hoover Institution fellow Victor Davis Hanson discusses that the pending legal battle over the national emergency declared by President Trump may all center around “semantics.” Hanson added that it was “psycho-dramatic” to say that the Constitution is “in danger,” pointing to Obama’s actions on the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal and DACA.
President Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency and move funds around to pay for more wall building is certain to be challenged in court. The case almost surely will arrive at the Supreme Court.
On Feb. 15, President Trump took a number of legal steps, including declaring a national emergency and invoking emergency authorities, in connection with his efforts to construct a wall on the southern border. There are important senses in which Trump’s actions are a big deal, and important senses in which they are not nearly as big a deal as many contend.
Now that he has declared a “national emergency,” all that stands between President Donald Trump and the money he wants to pay for his promised border wall is the American judiciary. And the Constitution. And the attorneys general of California, Nevada, New Mexico and New York. And a vast array of land owners and local governments.
The Conte Initiative on Immigration Reform aims to improve immigration law by providing innovative ideas and clear improvements to every part of the system, from border security to green cards to temporary work visas.