Mr. Trump’s emergency
President Trump and his advisers know his emergency power grab offers political cover for avoiding another shutdown by signing a budget bill without wall funding. A court’s injunction would give him another scapegoat for his failure to build a wall, for which he promised Mexico would pay. Building a wall to stem illegal immigration is not among the presidential emergency powers.
In 1952’s Youngstown v. Sawyer, the Supreme Court upheld an injunction restraining enforcement of President Harry S. Truman’s order seizing steel mills and rejected arguments that Truman had “inherent power” to issue such orders. The National Emergencies Act also requires public specification of statutory sources of emergency powers.
Only one statute seems superficially close to granting such powers: 33 U.S. Code Section 2293 authorizes the president, after declaring a national emergency, to redirect Army civil works resources to projects “essential to the national defense.” A wall is not “essential to the national defense.” National security is not imperiled by unarmed asylum seekers or drug couriers, despite Mr. Trump’s use of the term “invasion” to describe drugs crossing the border. Most drugs arrive through ports of entry. George Harper, Upper Marlboro
President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to build his border wall was a first step toward tyranny. The Constitution requires that funds spent by the government for specific purposes be appropriated by Congress. Mr. Trump wants to take the money for his wall from funding appropriated for other purposes. If this isn’t the act of a tyrant, what is it? Brian McNamara, Alexandria
It’s too bad President Trump didn’t read Adrian Higgins’s Gardening column in the Feb. 14 Local Living section [“The story behind one of history’s most bizarre barriers: A hedge”] before declaring a national emergency to fund his wall. The column explained how the British built a 2,500-mile, 12-to-14-foot-high hedge through central India to stop salt smuggling. What a great idea. A hedge would be much less expensive, more eco-friendly and certainly more attractive.
Lisa Green, Arlington
The Post’s Feb. 15 “Contempt of Congress” editorial made the argument that the need for a border wall is down because the number of arrests at the border is way down. This was a complete non sequitur. The relevant data is the number of people who sneak across the border and into the United States without being detected or arrested.
Frederick S. Holmes Jr., Annandale