Photo courtesy of Edward Kimmel & Wikimedia Commons.
by Jocelyn Pinedo, COLUMNIST
20 March 2019
On Friday, February 15th, 2019, President Trump declared a state of national emergency to get funds to build the wall across the southern border. This came after battling with Congress to acquire billions of dollars in order to make the border wall happen and failing to obtain these funds. The President retracted the national emergency once being promised that the money needed to build the wall would be funded and the border wall would be built. Yet he threatened to call another one if the promise was not kept. Though with the current problems that are occurring in the U.S., such as mass shootings and states in crisis, the wall seems like less of an emergency and more of an accessory.
The Senate voted to overturn the process of a national emergency declared by the President on the southern border wall on March 14th, 2019. The bill would have limited a national emergency to 30 days with only the possibility of an extension if Congress votes on extending the 30 days. This came after Congress expressed concern for Donald Trump overdoing his power as President to force the border wall to be built. The 51-49 vote has now denied the national emergency leading President Trump to enact his first veto during his presidency.
The United States has been dealing with tragedies upon tragedies that continue to be overlooked or saved for later, even though these issues are costing people their lives and stirring fear. Shootings continue to occur with minimal effort to change firearm laws. In Flint, Michigan, the need for clean water is still waiting to be solved with little effort from the President himself to get sustainable water. Both the shootings and Michigan’s necessity for water are more of an emergency than a brick wall.
In Flint, Michigan, the necessity for clean water has been going on since April 2014, almost five years without clean drinkable water. The water continues to be contaminated with lead that had leaked from the lead water pipes to the residents water supply. Residents of the area had to buy bottled or filtered waters but where faced with outrageously expensive water prices from store taking advantage of the water situation. The current lead pipes are still being replaced but is costing more so much money that its taking longer to finish up construction.
At one point, the city was deemed in a state of emergency requiring help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the department of homeland security. In January of 2019 Flint was still said to have unsafe drinking water and residents of the area continue to suffer from the lack of water that is a necessity to everyone. President Trump has not made any recent comments on the crisis that Flint, Michigan, continues to be in and there seems to be no sign of help coming from him soon.
Is the call for a national emergency in order to address the wall at the Southern border is appropriate?
POLL BASED ON A CROSS-SECTION OF EAST STUDENTS
On February 15th, 2019, the town of Aurora, Illinois, faced a devastating shooting at Henry Pratt Co. costing the lives of 5 innocent people and the shooter himself. At the time of the shooting, one of my friends happened to be near the manufacturing company before she heard gunshots being fired. From there, she went on to call her sister and tell her of the situation that was going on with obvious fear in her voice. Imagine the pain in her voice having to call her parents and tell them there’s a shooting going on near you and so terrified that there’s a chance you might not make it home.
In this same shooting one of the victims, Vicente Juarez, happened to be one of my friend’s family members who was employed at the company. You never really imagine losing someone you know in a shooting and neither did the family of Vicente Juarez until they were actually affected by such a crisis. As a society we get so used to seeing them on television, but when it happens in your own town the feeling is different. The family of Vicente Juarez will forever be affected by this shooting, yet President Trump is more concerned with the state of the wall than the state of the country.
The President continues to fight for a wall that will do what, exactly? Keep Mexican immigrants out? Trump claims to be protecting the country from drugs, violence, danger, you name it. However the real danger seems to be in the country itself and the lack of help being presented to the people here in the United States. Trump claims that the true emergency is the immigrants arriving from the southern border, but these immigrants are coming here for help, for aid, for a better life most of them work tremendously hard for in order to achieve a better life for their families and themselves.
With the President using his power to veto the the vote on the national emergency, on March 15th, 2019, it will now be up to the supreme court to decide the outcome. Donald Trump continues to push for a border wall when it’s obvious he is in over his head, its unnecessary and uncalled for. According to the New York Times, around 20 states, including California and New York, have formed a pact to sued just last month outraged at the fact that the President does not have the authority to make sure all funds go towards building the southern wall.
With the current state that the country is in we don’t need a national emergency for a wall that requires $5.7 billion, according to a report published by The Daily Caller on January 17, 2019. This money could be going towards Michigan’s water crisis which requires about $55 million dollars to fix. The amount the wall costs would cover Flint’s water crisis with plenty of money left over to help any family affected by mass shootings.
The true emergency in this country isn’t a wall.
It’s the person currently running the country.
Jocelyn Pinedo is a columnist for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the Howl.