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Letters: National emergency is not an emergency

Reader letters to Newsday for Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019

U.S. Border Patrol agents arrive to detain a

U.S. Border Patrol agents arrive to detain a group of Central American asylum-seekers near the U.S.-Mexico border on June 12, 2018, in McAllen, Texas. The group of women and children had rafted across the Rio Grande from Mexico and were detained before being sent to a processing center for possible separation. Photo Credit: Getty Images / John Moore

I’m sure that some Republicans in Congress who support President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to take funds from other projects to build his border wall actually hope the courts find the declaration unconstitutional [“Trump declares a border emergency,” News, Feb. 16].

My reasoning is simple. If the courts find Trump’s declaration to be constitutional, we are entering a new form of government in the United States. It’s called autocracy. Future presidents will use their newfound constitutionally protected power to declare emergencies for obvious political reasons.

Republicans in Congress know that eventually there will be a Democratic president who will use this power to institute many liberal policies. They criticized the Obama administration’s use of executive orders as overreach. But to paraphrase singer Al Jolson, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”

Jim Kiernan, Holbrook

In a rambling speech at the White House on Friday, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency — and went off to Florida to play golf. We have many emergencies in this country that are more important than Trump’s ridiculous wall. Guns and drugs kill many Americans daily, and we need better health care for so many who can’t afford it, and lower prescription prices. When is this man going to act like a president and do his job?

Ann Leahy, Wantagh

Some politicians think we don’t have a crisis at the border. Yes, deadly drugs come in via the mail or get past our border checkpoints, but some drugs get in through unobstructed border areas. What a shame. I wonder whether the politicians who voted against the wall ever had a close friend or family member die from a drug overdose?

Bernie McGrath, Holbrook

Donald Trump has been an incompetent president, but his latest endeavor, declaring a national emergency at the border, is perhaps the most extreme aberration of his presidency. All we can do is hope that Congress and/or the Supreme Court will do what is in the best interests of our nation.

Many people, including members of Congress, must believe that Trump’s motivation for the border wall has little to do with protecting our country. It is vanity more than anything else, which would be gratified by a 1,900-mile wall, which would be known as the “Trump wall.” Also, at this stage in a long confrontation, he probably feels he must save face. What a predicament for our country!

Did those who voted for Trump ever think that he would conduct his presidency in the extreme way that he has? I believe that if he is nominated again, those who voted for Trump in 2016 will vote for whoever runs against him in 2020, which means there will not be a truly competitive election.

Robert Wilson, West Islip

When the president visited McAllen, Texas, on Jan. 10, Raul Ortiz, the Rio Grande Valley acting chief of the Border Patrol, told him that agents in his sector had apprehended people from 41 countries, including India, Pakistan, China, Romania, Nicaragua and Ecuador. He said 90 percent of illegal crossings occur where there is no barrier. Agents talked about human smuggling, sex trafficking and the drugs coming over the border. All this in addition to caravans determined to enter the United States.

However, Newsday’s editorial board said this crisis is merely in the president’s imagination [“Trump’s imaginary emergency,” Editorial, Feb. 17]. I suppose the board knows better than our border agents.

Tom Santoro, Holbrook

The failure to get your way does not constitute a national emergency. What is an emergency is President Donald Trump’s creeping authoritarianism. The Constitution gives the power of the purse to Congress — and a bipartisan agreement on funding was just reached in Congress. By declaring a national emergency to try to obtain more money for his wall, Trump is threatening the balance of power between the institutions of our democracy and jeopardizing the well-being of military families and border communities. The president’s own security advisers made clear they do not see immigration at our Southern border as an emergency.

By separating children from their families and decreasing the legal avenues to apply for asylum, the Trump administration has created a humanitarian crisis at the border, not a national security emergency.

Our members of Congress must immediately condemn Trump’s gross overreach and pass a resolution to strike down his bogus declaration of a national emergency. Our democracy depends on it.

Al Chazin, Flushing

The border situation is not a national emergency. The only national emergency — actually a global emergency — is climate change. However, our president has his head in the rapidly warming sand about this scientific phenomenon. The president’s obsession with the wall is a tactic to divert attention from the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller. Declaring an emergency is the reaction of a spoiled child who did not get his way.

Carol Rogoff, Bethpage

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