Monday, 10 September 2018

Does Trump Have the Authority to Use Military to Build Border Wall?

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President Trump’s signature campaign issue, the border wall, has thus far has been thwarted by immigrationist congressmen. But the president now has a remedy for their obstructionism: He may have the military build the structure. As the Daily Mail reports:

President Donald Trump said Friday that he’s considering using military resources to finish construction of his long-promised border wall instead of relying on Congress to fund the project through the Homeland Security Department’s budget.

He also wouldn’t eliminate the possibility of a government shutdown if Democrats continue to confound his efforts to appropriate money for the project on the U.S.-Mexico border.

"We have two options," he told DailyMail.com aboard Air Force One as he flew from Billings, Montana to Fargo, North Dakota. "We have military, we have homeland security."

He was asked specifically about using the Army Corps of Engineers as a taxpayer-funded construction crew. 

Trump said he would prefer to fund the ambitious construction "the old-fashioned way — get it from Congress — but I have other options if I have to."

He’s seeking about $25 billion.

Given that this figure is, rounded off, a mere 0.61 percent of our projected $4.094 trillion 2018 budget, it wouldn’t appear much to spend to help protect our country and halt what is a de facto invasion. But anything is too much for adherents of immigrationism, the belief that (im)migration is always good, always necessary, must never be questioned, and should be the one constant in an ever-changing universe of policy.

Interestingly, pundit Ann Coulter had just opined how Trump could use the military to build the wall on the Thursday edition of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight. After being asked by host Carlson what Trump should say in his Billings, Montana, speech that night, Coulter responded, “I’d say, someone just reminded me that I’m president, and I don’t need Congress to build the wall — so I think I’m just going to start!”

And what of naysayers claiming the president has no such authority?

“Pull out your pocket Constitution and see who the commander in chief is, who has all the executive branch power in his hands,” Coulter pointed out. “He has the Department of Defense; he has Homeland Security. I mean, if we were suddenly attacked by China, he wouldn’t sit around — or North Korea — he wouldn’t sit around saying, ‘Well, I would like to respond, but Congress just will not write that bill.’ He’d say, ‘No, I am the commander in chief; I have the power to defend against an invasion. We’re being invaded.'”

In fact, the Constitution assigns to Congress the power to "declare war," as opposed to "make war," so the president can immediately counter a sudden attack without violating the Constitution, prior to Congress being able to meet and respond. But building a wall does not fall in the same category as responding to a sudden attack. The question, therefore, becomes whether Congress has authorized sufficient defense funding not earmarked for other purposes that could therefore be used to build the wall.

Coulter further mentioned that other than “Social Security and Medicare, 90 percent of all federal money is in the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense, and this [border protection] is both homeland security and defense.”

She then added that “obviously there are discretionary funds there, and they don’t need to be spent just to send off bombs to make Boeing even richer than they already are for no purpose at all.”

At this, Carlson asked, “Aha, so why isn’t that happening?”

“I suspect everyone around him is telling him ‘No, you can’t do that,’” Coulter responded.

One wonders if those possibly offering this counsel are part of the intra-White House public-official “resistance,” of which last Wednesday’s anonymous New York Times op-ed writer said he was a part. He boasted that he and his fellow travelers were stymieing part of Trump’s agenda — and they could have been the “wall” standing in the wall’s way.

Nonetheless, “Of course you can build a wall,” Coulter later said to Carlson. “That is most of what the military did for the first 100 years. We weren’t going around remaking the rest of the world. It was the military building forts on our border. Defending American borders is the number one job of the commander in chief” (video below).

Probably not coincidentally, Coulter made these comments last Thursday and, the very next day, the president echoed the idea. Some might criticize him for this, but it’s actually part of Trump’s appeal. Why?

For as long as anyone can remember, politicians have lived in an ivory tower far removed from Main Street. The people would vote, plead, and shout their desires, and it was as if no one heard them, as if they didn’t even exist. Leaders instead generally did the bidding of pseudo-elites in the media, academia, entertainment, and big business.

Now, finally, there’s a president who transcends the pseudo-elite babble, who actually sometimes hears and responds to constitutional, common-sense-oriented ideas. This is part of the reason why the establishment despises him so — he doesn’t ignore the people’s will.

As for calling illegal migration an “invasion,” this is entirely accurate. The media became apoplectic when Trump said in 2015 that such migration allows drugs, criminals, and “rapists” to enter our country, but he was actually understating the case.

With literally millions of unknown-quantity people having transgressed our border over the last couple of decades, the garden-variety criminals and weapons brought across aren’t our biggest worry. We should also ask: What’s the probability that terrorists and weapons of mass destruction have been among those unscreened millions?

Thus does failure to protect our borders — that most basic governmental function — reflect our system’s complete dysfunction. Why do we even have a government and military? And what’s the point fighting terrorists overseas while keeping our back door wide open?

Lastly, what can we say about the overall failure to enforce immigration law? Note that two of the 9/11 hijackers were visa overstays, yet such illegality is still tolerated today.

Every time there’s a crime or terrorist act involving illegals, we should remember who paved the way for their presence. Those government officials should be considered guilty of criminal negligence.

Image: Screenshot from U.S. Army ad

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