Things That Matter

President Trump Didn’t Get His Border Wall Funding So He Is Now Declaring A National Emergency

After months of negotiations with Congress, President Trump took the unprecedented step of declaring a national emergency to get funds for a border wall along the U.S-Mexico border. The news came on Friday morning after Congress passed a spending bill to avoid another government shutdown. The Senate voted 83-16 to pass the spending deal, which would provide a little over $1 billion for border security but no money for Trump’s border wall. It was soon after that the White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Thursday that the President would “take other executive action — including a national emergency — to ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border.”

Trump isn’t the first president to call for a national emergency but he’s the first to declare one for a crisis that technically is not a crisis at all.

After President Trump’s original request for $5.7 billion wasn’t part of the spending bill approved by Congress, he is now taking things into his own hands. The president suggested for weeks that he would declare a national emergency if Congress wouldn’t approve more funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. He says a wall is necessary to counter what he has called a “humanitarian crisis” at the border.

He will now be facing mounting legal opposition now that he has announced $8 billion moved in the budget to fund his border wall. Soon after news broke of the presidents plans, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi quickly responded to the belief that there is a crisis happening at the border.

“First of all, it’s not a national emergency; it is a humanitarian challenge to us,” Pelosi said. “The president is making an end run around Congress.”

Pelosi is correct here. Illegal border crossings have been dropping every year since 2006 and the argument that drugs are being smuggled across the border is also incorrect, most drugs are seized at ports of entry.

By declaring a national emergency, Trump plans to use funding from various parts of the federal government for his wall, most notably the Department of Defense.

By declaring a national emergency, President Trump is able to reach into certain funds provided under statutes previously passed by Congress. This essentially means that he has the authority to pull from military construction funds and civil works projects, like infrastructure repair projects. The president has to notify Congress of where he decides to pull money from but they cannot stop him due to the call of a national emergency.

While legal challenges can temporarily stop him, the chances of succeeding are slim because the definition of a national emergency is vague in wording. The president will likely face more roadblocks with landowners whose property is along the border. They will surely take legal action if they are forced to have a border wall built on their property.

Polls show that a majority of Americans are against Trump’s decision to delcare a national emergency.

Americans have overwhelming denied the need for a wall along the southern border. Even more, Americans are against Trump taking money from military and infrastructure budgets to build his wall, which is what Trump is doing with his national emergency delcaration.

What does this all mean going forward?

The president is now facing opposition not only from Democrats but from even some Republicans. The call for national emergency sets precedent moving forward that is a slippery slope when it comes to using presidential authority. It also essentially undermines the purpose and role of Congress.

What happens in the courts next is the big question at hand. A president calling for a national emergency when there technically isn’t one, just to build a large barrier — has yet to be tested in the courts. If the case is to reach all the way to the Supreme Court, which currently favors in the conservative side, the president could likely win. This could take months or even years to get settled. If the president is trying to get a quick fix for his border wall, he’s going to have to wait.


READ: President Trump And Beto O’Rourke Both Speak In The Same City, On The Same Night, Here’s What Happened

Share this story by tapping that little share button below

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

What Is the 25th Amendment and What Does it Do?: A Primer

Things That Matter

What Is the 25th Amendment and What Does it Do?: A Primer

via Getty Images

So in case you missed it, some crazy stuff went down at the Capitol yesterday. A mob of far-right Trump supporters broke into the Capitol building in “protest” of Congress ratifying President Elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College votes.

The heinous episode shocked and rattled many Americans. After months of inflammatory rhetoric, President Trump effectively activated his base into violent and treasonous actions. And people are upset. 

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have since called for Trump’s resignation. But knowing President Trump, it isn’t likely that he’s going to do that.

Because of that, lawmakers have reportedly been having talks to discuss invoking the 25th Amendment.

The 25th Amendment has four sections that dictate what will happen in the event of an acting president being unable to carry out the duties of office. These events have usually amounted to…colonoscopies (no, really). But this time around, lawmakers are looking to the fourth section of the amendment to remove Trump from office. And this is where the wording gets super lawyer-y.

Section Four the 25th Amendment states:

“Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.”

Translation: The Vice President, Trump’s cabinet, the Senate leader, and the Speaker of the House would all have to agree to ousting Trump.

It’s a little complicated, so let’s break it down. Vice President Pence and the majority (11 out of 23) of Trump’s cabinet would have to agree that he is unfit for office. Then, they must submit a written request to the “President pro Tempore” of the Senate (who is Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley) as well as the Speaker of the House (California Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi).

But wait, that’s not all. As soon as this motion is enacted, President Trump would be able to contest that decision (which he most definitely would). In that case, VP Mike Pence, Senator Grassley, and Congresswoman Pelosi would have to re-draft another statement insisting that he is, indeed, unfit for office.

Then, two-thirds of both the Senate and the House of Representatives would have to agree with their decision.

Only then would Trump be permanently removed from the presidency.

So, yeah…a lot of steps. But there’s a good reason for that. If removing a president from office were easy, it would be done a lot more often and our democracy would be a lot shakier.

Remember relentlessly hearing about the “checks and balances” of our government in elementary school? This is what our teachers were talking about. A lot of different people in different parts of the government have to sign-off on hard decisions so we can all make sure every action is justified and reasonable.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

This Pop-Up School For Migrant Kids Along The Border Went Virtual Thanks To Covid-19 But It’s Thriving More Than Ever

Things That Matter

This Pop-Up School For Migrant Kids Along The Border Went Virtual Thanks To Covid-19 But It’s Thriving More Than Ever

John Moore / Getty Images

The people traveling hundreds or thousands of miles to reach the U.S.-Mexico border aren’t living in some ‘migrant vaccuum’ where nothing else matters. They still have lives to live and experiences to have and, particularly for the young ones, an education to continue.

That was the thinking behind one sidewalk school that popped up in one of the many migrant camps along the U.S.-Mexico border. It was becoming filled with children from across Latin America who were forced to wait out their asylum process from within the border camps, thanks to Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy. But their need for an education didn’t just go away.

One woman – with no formal teacher training – decided to help and launched what was called a ‘sidewalk school’ for kids in the camp. But it’s been incredible successful and has blossomed into an online academy for kids throughout the border region.

Despite Covid-19, this pop-up school for migrant kids along the border is thriving.

Just as the Coronavirus pandemic has impacted schools around the world, it’s also having an impact on a pop-up sidewalk school for asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The school, which launched to help fill the educational needs of a growing group of kids stuck at the border, had to go to virtual learning because of the pandemic. But instead of seeing that as a challenge, the school instead has blossomed.

What started out with one teacher at one camp on a sidewalk, how now blossomed by hiring 20 teachers – all asylum seekers themselves – to give classes via Zoom to children across the border region.

To be able to switch to distance learning, the teachers and students were outfitted with more than 200 Amazon tablets by The Sidewalk School for Children Asylum Seekers. The organization was founded by Felicia Rangel-Samponaro, who lives across the border in Brownsville, Texas, and has been crossing to help the asylum seekers by providing them food and books.

It started in just one migrant camp with one teacher but it’s blossomed ever since.

A program like the sidewalk school was severely needed as hundreds and thousands of kids starting being forced to wait at the U.S.-Mexico border. It’s well-known that the border region is one of the most dangerous and violent parts of Mexico and that only underscores the need for quality activities.

Many point out that parents aren’t sending their kids to Mexican schools because they’re afraid to be apart from them. Crime is common here, and kidnappings have been reported. Other parents say registering for school in Mexico is difficult. But program leaders want the kids to be able to continue their education, and they say that many of the asylum-seekers have skill sets they can put to use at the school.

Parents are grateful, too, with one woman telling NPR that she knows “her children will be safe at the sidewalk school, and it gives her time to meet with an immigration lawyer. Volunteer attorneys have been coming over on the weekends to give free legal advice. The asylum-seekers could wait for months to be able to make their asylum case in the U.S.”

Teachers try to give the students some sense of normalcy amid the often dire circumstances at the border.

Credit: John Moore / Getty Images

Many students start their day with an arts and crafts class. Kids are asked to draw on paper plates then outline them with flue and drop glitter. Then they get to hang their creations from trees.

One impromptu teacher, who told NPR he preferred to remain anonymous, said that he wants the kids to “see other people appreciate the artwork they did and let them know how important they are, too, even to people, like, just walking past and driving by. It’s beautiful work.

The classes have offered children not only the chance to catch up on studies that were interrupted when their families fled violence in their homelands, but also a distraction from the long days of boredom.

Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy is what is fueling the need for programs like these.

Credit: JULIO CESAR AGUILAR/AFP via Getty Images

It’s the Trump policy of ‘Remain in Mexico’ that has forced programs like these to exist in the first place. The program forces asylum seekers to wait south of the border as their immigration cases proceed through the U.S. court system.

It leaves thousands of families living in tents or at Mexican shelters. Previously, asylum seekers were allowed to remain in the United States with relatives or other sponsors while their cases proceeded.

Many have spent more than a year with their lives in limbo, and the wait has only grown longer with the Trump administration suspending immigration court hearings for asylum-seekers during the pandemic.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com