Donald Trump should declare 'emergency' to get the wall built over Democrats' objections

Donald Trump should declare 'emergency' to get the wall built over Democrats' objections
Donald Trump should declare 'emergency' to get the wall built over Democrats' objections  

Every day that congressional Democrats keep the government shut down, they are perpetuating a perfectly solvable tragedy purely for political reasons.

President Trump explained it in vivid and thorough terms when he addressed the nation from the Oval Office to explain the urgent need for border security.

The president told the American people, as he has repeatedly told Congress, exactly what the country needs in order to end the legal and humanitarian crisis on our southern border: 234 miles of new barriers based on existing, proven designs, along with hundreds of new ICE and Border Patrol agents; $4.2 billion to adequately house those who are caught illegally crossing, plus an additional $800 million dollars to improve medical services for these people who are often apprehended in dire straights in one of the world's deadliest deserts; 75 new immigration judges to work through the years-long backlog of deportation cases; and new state-of-the-art information technology for our overtaxed ports of entry.

Read more commentary:

Reasonable facsimile of a president delivers expected cascade of distortions, but no news

9 facts you should know about the border before Trump addresses the nation

I lost my job because of the government shutdown, and my family isn't the only one at risk

Despite Democrats' repeated assertions that they want to secure the border, House Speaker Pelosi has made it abundantly clear she would rather keep the government shut indefinitely than acquiesce to even the most common-sense requests from the president. She even introduced her own funding bill that has no chance of passage and funds none of these absolutely essential border security initiatives.

She reiterated her irresponsible stance in her response to the president's address, insisting that he give up his only bargaining chip and is gambling American security on the whims of a divided Congress that is more bitterly divided than ever before. She knows that any attempt at wall funding would be torn apart before it left committee if the threat of a partial government shutdown weren't holding congressional feet to the fire.

Don't listen to Pelosi, the wall will be effective

Instead of working to get the government running and the border secure, she prefers to score political points with her "Resistance" base by declaring through a spokesman that a border barrier of any kind would be "immoral" and - even more fancifully - "ineffective."

As my colleagues and I laid out during a recent press conference at the White House with President Trump, Pelosi and her fellow Democrats are completely wrong on this. We told the American people the same thing that virtually any immigration enforcement agent would tell them without hesitation: walls and physical barriers are massively effective.

Consider San Diego County, California, where a 1990s-era border barrier cut illegal crossings by over 90 percent. There's also Yuma County, Arizona, which saw a 96 percent reduction in the number of apprehensions for illegal crossings after a barrier went up during George W. Bush's administration.

Walls make the job of enforcing America's immigration laws immeasurably easier, reduce crime in border communities and elsewhere, and deliver benefits that reverberate throughout society.

Democrats, however, ignore these successes just as they ignore the ongoing emergency on the border as a whole. Buoyed by mixed signals from a gridlocked Washington, illegal crossing attempts are surging in some sectors.

Democrats want to keep Trump from victory

Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats are content to let this partial government shutdown continue in hopes that it will damage President Trump's political standing. Luckily, the president doesn't have to play their game. He can declare a "State of Emergency" and use previously-appropriated money to start constructing the border wall if Democrats continue to hold the federal government hostage.

President Trump has expressed a strong preference for using normal budget procedure, but he has also made it clear that he is very much prepared to do whatever it takes to secure the border.

Democrats know that President Trump has this emergency authority, but insist on keeping the government in a state of partial paralysis specifically to frustrate his efforts to secure the border. Their leaders incorrectly think that fighting tooth and nail to preserve the border chaos will endear them with their own liberal base and make President Trump look ineffective and cruel.

In reality, though, the president is making a sincere effort to address a genuine crisis, while his Democrat opponents are demonstrating real cruelty by insisting that we stick with strategies that have long since been proven ineffective.

Just contrast President Trump's address with what the Democrats have had to say. The president showed that he is acutely aware of the human tragedy taking place every day, both at the border and in communities across the United States. In response, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer accused the president of throwing a "temper tantrum."

Brandon Judd is the president of the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC), the exclusive labor representative of approximately 16,000 Border Patrol agents.

You can read diverse opinions from our Board of Contributors and other writers on the Opinion front page, on Twitter @usatodayopinion and in our daily Opinion newsletter. To respond to a column, submit a comment to

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Donald Trump should declare 'emergency' to get the wall built over Democrats' objections


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