A Perspective on the President’s Plans for the Wall

Well, this from the Family Research Council is a bit more hopeful than most of what I’ve been reading lately.  It’s also interesting, if unsurprising, information about the legal status of the President’s plans.  (Although, the USA is still probably doomed and it’s just a matter of time… )

If liberals wanted to sue over the border wall, they’re about 13 years too late. Congress already gave its blessing back in 2006 when it passed the Secure Fence Act. The same goes for the president’s decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel. The House and Senate have been on board since 1995 when they authorized it. If the Left’s being honest, its problem isn’t that the president is moving forward with the wall. It’s problem is that the president is Donald Trump.

Back in 2014, the Washington Examiner’s Eddie Scarry points out, the media had no problem calling it a “border crisis.” Neither did Barack Obama, who stood in the same Rose Garden as Donald Trump did on Friday, and insisted, “We now have an actual humanitarian crisis on the border that only underscores the need to drop the politics and fix our immigration system once and for all.” Five years, one administration, and who-knows-how-many caravans later, and suddenly, this president is doing something “immoral” by addressing the situation. That’s not because the dilemma changed. It’s because the occupant of the Oval Office did.

Take columnists like Karen Tumulty. In 2014, Scarry explains, she had no problem writing about the “current crisis on the Southwest border.” Well, it must have magically fixed itself, because last month, she accused the president of “manufacturing an emergency.” California, New York, and 14 other states want you to think that Donald Trump was acting outside of his constitutional authority when he used his executive power to finish the job Congress gave the greenlight to over a dozen years ago. But, as Ken Klukowski told me last night on Washington Watch, nothing could be farther from the truth.

“It’s critical for everyone to understand: the president is not invoking any of his inherent constitutional powers — none of his Article 2 powers, like commander-in-chief authority. In this case, you have a president who is only acting under a specific act of Congress, a federal statute called the National Emergencies Act of 1976. It’s been used 59 times before. This is just number 60. In fact, the 59th time was earlier this month — also by President Trump — regarding U.S. relations with Venezuela, because of course the turmoil going on over there. Maybe I missed the press release, but I didn’t hear the sky fall [when he declared that emergency]. I didn’t hear a news story from the National Archives that the Constitution burst into flames. One would almost think that this is just part of the rule of law. And that’s exactly what’s going on here.”

President Trump’s request is simple. He wants to move money that’s already been approved by Congress from one bank account to another. This president hasn’t “conjured funding from thin air (the military construction and Army Corps funding has already been appropriated),” the Federalist argues, “nor is he using funds for purposes explicitly prohibited by Congress (to the contrary, Congress explicitly authorized the construction of a border wall).”

In other words, there’s no constitutional crisis here. The only reason these leftist states are suing Trump is because he wants to protect American sovereignty and security. Juxtapose that with 2012. When conservative states took Barack Obama to court over his health care mandate, it was for the exact opposite reason. Unlike Trump, Obama wasn’t in the business of protecting freedom — he was in the business of undermining it. Obviously, after eight years of Obama, a lot of people are out of practice when it comes to operating within the limits of presidential authority. But in this instance, the contrast between the two parties has never been clearer.

 

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The Wall: Catholic Approved or Not?

I’ve enjoyed some of Monsignor Pope’s writing in the past, but he goes a little wrong in this piece or perhaps more accurately he just doesn’t go far enough (which I suspect is deliberate and I can’t say I blame him): Is There a Catholic View on the Border-Wall?

He is correct in pointing out what the Catechism actually says in this portion:

In the current debate about “the wall,” I think that the Church should limit herself to speaking to her basic principles on immigrants and immigration. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (2241) lays out two principles, which are meant to balance each other:

The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.

Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.

So, the Catholic view is that a prosperous nation such as ours should be generous in receiving immigrants, especially refugees and the poor, but that there are legitimate limits the nation can apply. In particular, the receiving nation has a right to expect things of immigrants: that they follow its laws, respect the country’s way of life, and contribute to the shouldering of civic responsibilities. (A nation also has the right and duty to defend and promote the common good of its citizens — see CCC 1910.)

I am personally very upbeat about immigrants in this country, most of whom come from Central and South America. I have found them to be hardworking, skilled (especially in the building trades) and largely Catholic with strong family ties. I think that they are a blessing to our nation and that we should admit a large number of them annually.

I also understand, though, that our borders cannot simply stand open. There are legitimate concerns for security at the borders and immigration must be well-managed in order to promote the safety and general welfare of all: Americans and immigrants.

Where I think he goes wrong is in his optimism for immigrants in this country, which  I think is vastly misplaced based on the facts (Perhaps readers will remember our previous post cataloging of just a few of the murders committed by immigrants?).  I have no doubt that a portion of immigrants are just as Monsignor describes (especially those who have entered our country LEGALLY), but there are plenty more who absolutely do NOT hold up their end of the bargain to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.” 

There is another place where I think he makes a mistake: our country is not as prosperous as he thinks it is or in as sure a place to offer generous aid to others.  Our prosperity is an illusion that could any moment be dissolved into chaos, poverty and collapse.  How many of our OWN citizens suffer terrible poverty and violence?  Should we not care for them first?  What of our Nation’s crushing and unsustainable debt load?  It IS going to catch up with us some day?  An individual’s worth is figured not just by looking at assets but by subtracting liabilities.  The USA has substantial liabilities to reckon with.  This is not to say that our country resembles a third world one — yet — since even our poor have smart phones, but even that is a symptom of terribly mismanaged charity.

One comment on Msgr. Pope’s post succinctly summed up the interpretation of the Catechism: “no country is required to beggar itself in the name of false charity, or to rob its people of the fruits of their work and for their posterity.”

Another passage from the Catechism that may apply to this situation is 2266: “The efforts of the state to curb the spread of behavior harmful to the people’s rights and to the basic rules of civil society correspond to the requirement of safeguarding the common good.  Legitimate public authority has the right and the duty to inflict punishment proportionate to the gravity of the offense…”

I don’t think storming another nation’s border and demanding entry qualified as respecting the citizens’ rights or of following the “basic rules of civil society.” If you break a Nation’s laws (unless they are legitimately immoral to follow), you are liable to punishment by said Nation.

And in case anyone needs convincing that shutting down illegal border crossings will benefit even those trying to cross, take a look at just one example of the horrible cost to women and children who cross the border, by choice or force: National Security Is Worth Wall .

 

A very radical view – from a Libertarian.

Attached is a link to a book review on Amren.  (I know, I know, they’re the locus of Evil itself. Take a deep breath and read it anyway.) Given the usual Libertarian support for open borders, it’s more than a bit surprising that a Libertarian would come to realize that unlimited immigration is a disaster.

Hans-Hermann Hoppe, professor of economics at University of Nevada Las Vegas, is a different kind of libertarian. He shares — even surpasses — the usual libertarian contempt for government intrusion and compulsion, but recognizes “free immigration” for what it is: forcing strangers into communities of natives who want to be left alone. Prof. Hoppe recognizes that the right to discriminate, to keep out undesirables, is a fundamental freedom that only the servile would ever give up.

https://www.amren.com/news/2018/03/hoppe-democracy-god-that-failed-libertarians-race-immigration/

Good Move, Poland

Poland’s got blue laws:

A new Polish law banning almost all trade on Sundays has taken effect, with large supermarkets and most other retailers closed for the first time since liberal shopping laws were introduced in the 1990s after communism’s collapse.

The change is stirring up a range of emotions in a country where many feel workers are exploited under the liberal regulations of the past years and want them to have a day of rest. But many Poles also experience consumer freedom as one of the most tangible benefits of the free market era and resent the new limit.

In Hungary, another ex-communist country, a ban on Sunday trade imposed in 2015 was so unpopular that authorities repealed it the next year. Elsewhere in Europe, however, including Germany and Austria, people have long been accustomed to the day of commercial rest and appreciate the push it gives them to escape the compulsion to shop for quality time with family and friends instead.

The law was proposed by a leading trade union, Solidarity, which says employees deserve Sundays off. It found the support of the conservative and pro-Catholic ruling party, Law and Justice, whose lawmakers passed the legislation. The influential Catholic church, to which more than 90 percent of Poles belong, has welcomed the change.
***
The new law at first bans trade two Sundays per month, but steps it up to three Sundays in 2019 and finally all Sundays in 2020, except for seven exceptions before the Easter and Christmas holidays.

Of course the AP went out of their way to find people who didn’t like it.  The thing about opposition to no Sunday work is that it’s very frequently “wah what about me!”  Either people are mad because the law doesn’t help them or they’re mad because they don’t get to go shopping.  Back in the dark days of retail work, I had a constant fight over not working Sundays and ever since I have tried to avoid any shopping of any kind on Sunday because I know how much it sucks.  Would it be more convenient and easy for me?  Sure, but maybe my individual convenience doesn’t trump someone else’s right to a day of rest.  And even if the law doesn’t cover all workers, it’s still a step in the right direction.