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President Trump on ‘Solid Legal Ground’ to End the Crisis on our Southern Border

If Trump declares a national emergency over the border, he'll be on solid legal ground

“President Trump will have the law on his side when he uses the power of his office to secure the U.S. border with Mexico,” writes former U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Joseph DiGenova in the New York Daily News.

“The current political reality in Washington ensures that the crisis on our southern border will continue to go unresolved unless the executive branch steps in. Fortunately, both the Constitution and the Congress have placed the authority to do so firmly with the President of the United States.”

The pivotal Supreme Court case on executive authority is 1952’s Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. vs. Sawyer, which struck down President Harry Truman’s unilateral seizure of the American steel industry.

In his concurrence with the majority opinion, Justice Robert Jackson identified three categories of executive action: those taken against Congress’s wishes, those taken in a “twilight” category where Congress’s intention is unclear, and actions like the one President Trump may be preparing to take now, where Congress has already delegated the authority to act. This last category is where presidential power is at its zenith, carrying almost the full undivided power of the U.S. government.

In this case, the emergency powers Congress has already delegated to the President are perfectly tailored to allow him to solve the border crisis. A declaration of national emergency authorizes the President, “without regard to any other provision of law,” to tap into funds already appropriated for military construction and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ civil works program.

Until Congress passes a new law or resolution — which would require a two-thirds majority in both houses if President Trump were to issue a veto — the legislative branch has already given the President ample authority to declare a state of emergency on the southern border.

So long as Congress remains unwilling to legislate a specific plan to bring our porous border under control, the President has the responsibility to use that previously-delegated authority to protect the American people.


Where Trump won: Historic ICE funding, triple wall miles, killed ‘poison pills’

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In the Washington Examiner, Paul Bedard reports that “Congress approved historic funding levels for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and border patrol, added miles to the border wall, and increased the cap on criminal illegal immigrants that can be jailed. Insiders who worked on the deal said that compared to going along with a spending continuing resolution, the GOP scored several wins,”though it did not reach the $5.7 billion funding Trump wanted for the wall.

“I know the conventional wisdom is that he lost on the wall in this package. But he gained … under impossible conditions,” said one insider on background.

While a country mile away from being able to declare it a victory, the number of wins the GOP won in the three weeks of negotiations were sizable, said insiders.

What’s more, Trump and GOP negotiators led by Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and his team blocked several moves by Pelosi and other Democrats to fill the deal with anti-wall moves like lowering spending for ICE and slashing the number of “detention beds” to hold criminal illegal immigrants.

“Pelosi lost. She knew her position on detentions beds was unsustainable and only playing to her fringe. She also said no new miles for the wall,” said the source. “She had to step back from all positions.”

Compared to a simple continuing resolution, or CR, with nothing extra beyond current spending levels set in fiscal 2018, Trump gained extra funding for the wall. A CR would have provided $500 million, said the source, but Trump received $1.375 billion. That is “triple” the number of miles in the fiscal 2018 budget and “nearly three times as much as would have been available under a CR,” said the source.

On detention beds, the number increased 13 percent over fiscal 2018. And when another $750 million in transfer and reprogramming authority is added in, it represents a 44 percent increase, said the source.

What’s more, the bill provides historic funding levels for ICE and Customs and Border Protection, a rejection of liberal efforts to kill the agencies. It was a 7 percent budget increase for a combined $21.5 billion.


Melania Trump gifted necklace from Kenyan patient while delivering valentines

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Yesterday, First Lady Melania Trump “brought Valentine’s Day cards to young patients being treated at the Children’s Inn at the National Institutes of Health” and spent the afternoon making arts and crafts with about a dozen children and their siblings, Caitlin Yilek reports in the Washington Examiner.

The First Lady “was gifted a silver necklace inscribed with ‘faith’ and ‘hope’ from Amani, a 13-year-old from Kenya who has sickle cell disease and is preparing for a bone marrow transplant. Amani has a bracelet to match the necklace he gave the first lady.”

“It’s so beautiful. Thank you,” she told Amani. “Very special … Very nice.”

Trump has made a tradition of visiting sick children on the holiday.

Last year, she brought cards and coloring books to children at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Ohio. Trump was also briefed by doctors about the effect opioids have on newborns.

Trump’s AI Plan Is a Good Start

It’s progress.

The Bloomberg editorial board writes that President Trump is launching a smart artificial intelligence plan “to ensure the U.S. keeps up in an increasingly crucial industry.” The President’s plan, “dubbed the ‘American AI Initiative,’ is a measured response [that] directs federal agencies to invest more in artificial-intelligence R&D, share data and computer models with outside researchers, establish clear technical standards, boost workforce development, and otherwise prioritize the technology.”

None of this is earth-shattering. It builds on a similar effort by Barack Obama’s administration in 2016. But from a White House frequently adrift or in turmoil, this ranks as a good-faith attempt to grapple with the challenges of a cutting-edge technology. It elevates the issue throughout the executive branch and takes some concrete steps to help American businesses. That’s progress.

The plan’s very modesty is an advantage. The White House recognizes that the private sector must take the lead, and that the federal government’s role — though necessary — should be limited. This contrasts favorably with (say) China, where the government is pumping billions of dollars directly into AI-related companies. This may advance the field somewhat, but it’s also a good way to sustain hopeless businesses, crowd out private investment, encourage cronyism, inflate bubbles, and generally make a hash of things.

That said, Trump’s plan is only a start. In the longer term, Congress needs to build on it to make sure the U.S. remains a good place for AI companies to invest and thrive. This means spending generously on basic research and education; maintaining sound infrastructure; setting clear standards; regulating sparingly; welcoming talented immigrants; and, where appropriate, leveraging the government’s role as a consumer to promote new technologies that could have public benefits.

Preparing for the potential drawbacks should also be a priority. The executive branch should do a better job of collecting data about AI — in particular, its effect on employment — and studying the ethical implications. As automation in all its forms advances, workers will need help adjusting and the social safety-net may need to be reformed. There’s also the remote possibility that AI becomes sentient and, you know, destroys humanity. That’s worth some thought.

But let that be a worry for another day. For now, it’s enough to note that on one issue, at least, the White House has shown an uncharacteristic blend of forethought and restraint.

Venezuela was my home, and socialism destroyed it. Slowly, it will destroy America, too.

Mosaic depicts late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, left, and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas on Jan. 30, 2019.

In USA Today, Daniel Di Martino, a Venezuelan expatriate, writes that America must resist the socialist policies that destroyed his home country. Though so many of us Venezuelans fled to the USA to escape from the destructive consequences of socialism, liberal politicians like Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. José Serrano, D-N.Y., have praised the same kind of policies that produced famine, mass exodus and soaring inflation in Venezuela.

Even worse, in recent weeks, Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar, Ro Khanna and Tulsi Gabbard have mischaracterized the protests against Maduro and condemned President Donald Trump’s widely supported moves to help end Maduro’s dictatorship.

Additionally, many congressional Democrats support Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, proposals that would nationalize the health insurance industry, guarantee everyone who wants it a job and massively raise taxes, increasing government intervention in the economy like few countries except Cuba and Venezuela have seen before. Proponents think that they can give all Americans quality health care, housing and everything for free and that somehow, politicians can do a better job at running a business than the business owners themselves.

These proposals would skyrocket the budget deficit and national debt, which just reached a record $22 trillion. If that is not enough, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez endorsed paying for the proposal by asking the Federal Reserve to print money. This is exactly what produced Venezuela’s nightmare.

Even so, liberal economist Paul Krugman recently argued in a column that “whenever you see someone invoking Venezuela as a reason not to consider progressive policy ideas, you know right away that the person in question is uninformed, dishonest, or both.”

I can assure Mr. Krugman that I’m neither uninformed nor dishonest. Of course, it’s true that neither Medicare for All nor a wealth tax alone would turn the United States into Venezuela overnight. No single radical proposal would do that. However, if all or most of these measures are implemented, they could have the same catastrophic consequences for the American people that they had for Venezuela.

“In his recent State of the Union address, President Donald Trump said: ‘The United States will never be a socialist country.’ I sincerely hope the president is right, and that every American can resist the lure of false promises.”— so this great country can always shine above the dark cloud of socialism, and avoid Venezuela’s fate.

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