President Trump is getting a lot of good advice from his party leadership and his true support base that he needs to drop the notion of a national emergency for his border wall, accept the additional $1.4 billion for the structure that is in the approved budget as a victory, and re-allocate available funds at his disposal that can be used for the wall without detriment to other national security needs. Then he could top this off with an immigration reform package that includes legal status (not citizenship) to the DACA “Dreamers” and fixes the flawed asylum rules, and dare Nancy Pelosi not to support it.
I don’t disagree that there is a significant need for more wall footage in strategic points along the border, but the national emergency order is not productive on a number of fronts: first, it’s likely to be tied up in court for the rest of his first term, with staff preoccupation and daily and relentless media attacks that dominate the news cycle; second, it’s not smart politically because of the tremendous pressure it puts on incumbent Republicans running in blue/purple states and it divides the party, while polling shows that his base wants an immigration compromise the chances for which would be damaged; and third, maybe most important, even if an emergency order is legal, he is taking a big risk with the judiciary and even if he wins it flies in the face of the separation of powers and sets a bad constitutional precedent that would come back to haunt future presidents. In too many cases his ego is his worst enemy and he needs to learn that every street fight is not worth the risk and cost in terms of political capital. He should pull this order, hopefully before he vetoes the pending congressional resolution blocking his emergency declaration.