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Cornell Student Articles on Topical Affairs

Trump overestimates his legal power in fight to erect wall at Mexico border

Current President of the United States Donald Trump has had a controversial term as president. Only two years into his first (and, let’s be frank, likely last) term as president, he has managed to enrage an entire country – his country – as well as the rest of the world with his outlandish and alarming attitude and behaviour. Trump is a man who continuously insists his power without having the ability to read the room or take into account the opinions of the very people that he was elected to lead. This is not the mark of a leader, but the mark of a small man who has failed to include any legal (or just generally factual) in most – if not all – his ramblings, and yet he was elected. At some point, this is the man that enough people wanted to lead America into the next political era. The latest issue that has splashed across headlines around the world is that of Trump and his government (the sections that have not yet been shut down, anyway) and their attitude towards the ongoing issue of legal immigration into the United States.

It can quite an adventure – to put it mildly – for immigrants to find their way safely into this country. For some, hiring an immigration lawyer can be quite easy, but for the hundreds that are unable to even get here to plead their case, there is so much more at stake. Nobody runs from a safe home. Nobody tries to illegally cross a border or take a boat to the shores of a foreign country if they are coming from a safe nation. And yet, this simple concept is one that the current president of the United States seems unable to adequately grasp. Instead, Trump insists on bringing in increasingly harsh immigration laws and “investing” billions of dollars into a literal wall that stops these people from reaching the safety they need so desperately. The legal issue surrounding immigration in the United States is a delicate one, and even with US citizens rallying behind the noble cause of letting more immigrants into their country, the government refuses to budge, instead tightening their grip on the situation and literally putting their efforts into attempting to build a wall.

Just one example of Trump’s refusal to do his research and understand just how switched on the people he claims to be leading are, Trump claimed last year that foreign governments were able to pick and choose who enters the United States on Diversity Visas. Further, he stated very confidently that they then chose to send mass murders to America. However, if you ask someone in the US legal system, they likely paint a very different picture of the immigration law status as is. According to a Department of State official, for example, “the congressionally-mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV) makes available up to 55,000 Diversity Visas annually, drawn from random selection to persons who meet strict eligibility requirements from countries with low rates of immigration to the US”. Essentially, literally according to the law, Trump’s own description of how the Diversity Visa works is not only exaggerated, it is entirely false. Either President Trump has been given false information, or he knew his words were untrue and potentially damaging, and chose to say them anyway. To the world.

A mere few weeks ago, Trump made perhaps his most bold announcement (assumption) yet. Trump declared a “national emergency” to move forward with the construction of the much-discussed border wall, citing executive power as his means of jumping over the legal hoops. Trump argued that his administration could and would use eminent domain to obtain private land along the US-Mexico border, and that they would then use that land to erect a steel wall that could provide jobs to US companies. Legal experts insist that Trump’s emergency powers under federal law are limited, expressing adequate and understandable doubt that such a “solution” would be allowed, nor successful should it go through. While the wall may keep people from crossing the border, it would ignite another furious wave of upset. This abrupt movement comes amid the shutting down of part of the US government, which has affected up to 800,000 federal workers in the three weeks it has been in effect. Trump forced the government shut down when sections of the government refused to allow the approval of over $5 billion in funding for the wall that he once promised would be paid for by Mexico.

The current President of the United States has had a controversial first term as chosen leader of the US. In little over two years into his first (and likely last) term as president, Donald Trump has managed to have more controversy swirling around him – that also, by the way, is mostly caused by his own actions and behaviour – than any previous American President. This is a man who was elected to lead a country, and has moved into the White House only to be marred with controversy surrounding issues like gun violence and immigration. Exercising his presidential power recklessly, this is an issue of human rights that has spiralled into an epidemic at the hands of a literal president, a chosen leader. This latest immigration-based blunder has sent Trump into an irritated rant about how he can “do it if he wants to” (referring to building the wall), and he does not necessarily care what the case against doing so entails.

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