While President Trump gets to work on the border wall, House Democrats are trying to build their own blockade in the usual place: federal court. In an administration that can't sneeze without liberals suing it, the far-Left is making one last ditch effort to stop the White House from building the wall Congress authorized almost 13 years ago. But if the courts' own data on crime is admitted as evidence, House Democrats have less of a case than ever.
Before Democrats pulled the trigger on another legal challenge, they were already on shaky ground. Under the National Emergencies Act, President Trump already had all of the authority he needed to finish the job on the wall. "President Trump is... acting exclusively within the authority that Congress has explicitly granted to any president [under the act]," experts like Ken Klukowski have pointed out. Not to mention, the money liberals are complaining about has already been approved by Congress.
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)." Still, the Left insisted on making the president a prophet, who knew that no matter what he did within the realms of his authority, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) would conjure up some reason to litigate.
Of course, Democrats will spend the next several months trying to persuade judges that there is no crisis on the border -- which is almost laughable in light of our current statistics. In February alone, America's border patrol estimated that 76,000 migrants had crossed illegally into the United States. If that isn't a crisis, what is? What's worse, CNSNews's Terry Jeffrey points out, is that an alarming percentage of these people are coming with dangerous intentions.
Digging deep into some new government reports, Terry was stunned to find that the five federal courts who lead our country in criminal convictions are all along the Mexican border. The busiest judges? The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, which ranked number one overall. "It convicted 8,179 criminal defendants and sentenced 7,126 of them to imprisonment in the last fiscal year." These are people, Terry told me on Thursday's "Washington Watch," "who were prosecuted in front of a federal district judge in a court on the border, convicted, and sentenced to prison. There are other people who were merely fined, other people who were released on supervision. These are the people who did crimes serious enough to hear, 'You're going to jail, pal.'"
"If you talk to assistant U.S. attorneys who work in these districts, they know this... If you want to be in a place that's very busy, go down to west Texas, south Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, or California. And the real dynamic is this: the drug cartels, alien smugglers, and other types of criminals, they know that the U.S. border is not secure. They know they can make a lot of money by bringing contraband, whether it's people or drugs -- across the border. There's a lot of crime associated with that -- up to and including murder."
And, Terry explains, there's also the heavy volume of convictions from the federal magistrate court system. Ninety percent of the criminals convicted there are also in those same five districts along the border. So how on earth could anyone argue that there's no problem on the Mexican border?
"It's absurd," Terry told me. "It's absolutely absurd... Every single year going back to 1959, the office of the U.S. attorneys has published an annual statistical report where they have similar data that show the same pattern... And it really shows the negligence of our government. For years and years, they've known this is going on. People on both sides of the border are being victimized by crime, including by serious violent crime, and this is reflected in the caseloads of our courts and the government isn't doing anything about it."
"[Liberals] don't want to debate these facts, because they know they're true -- and they're willing to pay this price and make the American people pay this price from the benefit they think they derive from allowing illegal aliens to come across the border."
There's no doubt that this is a crisis -- or that President Trump is justified under the law and by the circumstances to fix it. House Democrats may not have the stomach for addressing the problem, but it's time they got out of the way of an administration that does.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.