We talked yesterday about the possibility of President Trump going around Congress to get the money for a border wall by declaring a national emergency and using Defense Department funds to build it. According to experts, he’s on solid legal ground if he uses construction funds that haven’t already been allocated, though we don’t know if there’s enough non-appropriated money to pay for the entire project. And he could certainly make the case –- with drug and crime stats alone –- that this is indeed a national emergency, as I expect him to do in his address to the nation from the Oval Office Tuesday evening, the first such address of his presidency.
I like to think he read my newsletter and took my advice to give the address
Where the President would most likely face a legal challenge (and we know there will be one) is in the use of “military eminent domain” to obtain private property along the border. Although the situations aren’t entirely analogous, President Truman tried to use a national emergency during the Korean War to take control of steel mills and was stopped by the Supreme Court. I suggested that, for now, Trump concentrate on getting the money and building or replacing the barrier in places that don’t involve going to court to argue eminent domain. Later on, at least if Congress returns to Republican hands, they can address that separate issue legislatively.
Today, we’ll look at other ways Trump could perhaps obtain funding. Some readers have written me to support the idea of Trump using drug money –- specifically Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s $14 billion –- or, alternatively, use a GoFundMe account or some other way of raising private funds online. In fact, some were eager to donate. So, can either of these plans work?
In December, AMERICAN THINKER ran a piece by Daniel John Sobieski describing a piece of legislation that has just been re-introduced by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz called the Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order Act (the E.L.C.H.A.P.O. Act --- don’t you love it?) which would authorize funding border security with money confiscated from drug lords. He first proposed it in April of 2017, saying that using the funds from Mexican drug cartels could “offset the wall’s cost and make meaningful progress toward achieving President Trump’s stated border security objectives.” This kind of arrangement was what Trump was talking about when he said Mexico would, in effect, be paying for the wall.
Recall that El Chapo headed the Sinaloa Cartel, which is responsible for the murder of Border Agent Brian Terry –- with a gun courtesy of our own DOJ’s “Fast and Furious” gun-smuggling investigation. But I digress.
At the time Cruz came up with his bill, it seemed to some like a campaign gimmick that would be used primarily to raise funds for his own 2018 Senate race. But now that the new Senate has convened, Cruz has re-introduced it.
In the House, Wisconsin Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, a member of the Judiciary Committee, proposed similar legislation. The idea of using drug money this way is appealing in its symmetry: using proceeds from Mexican drug cartels to erect protection against...Mexican drug cartels. Plus, it’s money that comes from bloodthirsty animals who victimize law-abiding people in Mexico as well as in this country. But, of course, with the House now in Democratic hands, it’s unlikely that any legislation that funds a wall will be passed. They don’t want Trump to get “his” wall, even though it’s really our wall, and even if we get it essentially for free.
And contrary to the lie being told by Democrats, we know that a barrier wall works. The AMERICAN THINKER piece cites as proof the Yuma, Arizona, sector of fence built under the bipartisan Secure Fences Act of 2006 (which was supported by then-Sens. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden and others back before it became politicized as “Trump’s Wall”). Though much of the fence that actually got built was not well-constructed (it was supposed to be modeled after the two-tier fence at San Diego, which has been “amazingly effective”), the Yuma sector got the proper infrastructure, plus lighting, roads and increased surveillance. The chaos that had besieged Yuma was largely abated.
So, absolutely we should use cartel funds to do this. But, as I said, we’ve got a Democrat House now, so good luck getting the legislation through. If Republicans push hard enough and make enough noise about it, Democrats will at least be seen as the liars they are when it comes to saying they want border security. They won’t be able to cite “fiscal responsibility,” which was a hilarious joke coming from them, anyway. It’s hard to imagine Nancy Pelosi giving Trump the political victory, no matter what, but perhaps he'll find a way to make her an offer she can't refuse.
Incidentally, my friend Chuck Norris, who lives in Texas, has very enthusiastically endorsed this idea. It’s time to unite behind this. His piece is a must-read…
Of course, there have been other suggestions for raising money, mostly involving private donations. Some of my readers have expressed the desire to contribute. A GoFundMe page raised nearly $5 million in three days, but it wasn’t clear what was going to happen to those funds. It seems that legislation would be needed to allow the use of private funds to build the wall, but none of the proposed bills gained traction. And now, with the Congress in Democratic hands, it seems even more unlikely to be done legislatively. No, I’m with Chuck Norris on this!