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What National Emergency?

| March 1, 2019

Can you spot the emergency? (White House)

Did you know that we are in a national emergency right now? Seriously. We really are. At least that’s what our president, who’s averaging almost two golf outings a week and hops around his luxury clubs about once every five days, is telling us. I suppose if I were to look out the window I might see hints of it. Brown skins invading Palm Coast’s P Section. Oh no, wait, that’s just my son mowing the lawn.

pierre tristam column flaglerlive.com flaglerlive I can think of a few emergencies right now: the health care crisis still making insurance a costly gamble for millions, the opioid crisis taking the lives of 72,000 Americans in a single year, the gun epidemic that took the lives of nearly 1,200 children since the Parkland school massacre, the nation’s paralysis on climate change, making slow-cooked frogs of us all.

Undocumented immigrants pouring over the border? Not exactly. Not when illegal crossings are at 40-year lows. Not when the problem, if there is a problem, is closer to a lack of immigrants to make up for the country’s collapsing fertility rate. We depend on undocumented immigrants to till our soils, harvest our vegetables and fruit, care for our children, wait our tables and do all sorts of other menial work we’re too good to do ourselves. Before long we’ll need them to keep our population from falling. The national security threat is their absence, not their presence. And their absence has been felt.


According to the Department of Homeland Security, almost a million migrants crossed the border illegally in 2006. The number was down to 62,000 in 2016. There’s been not a single terrorist incident tied to border crossings, except perhaps the terrorism inflicted on migrants by Minutemen and their mutants, those barbaric vigilantes who police the border like latter-day klansmen, or by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the deservedly reviled federal agency known as ICE that could also pass itself off for brownshirts.

Drugs are coming in, but they’re coming in from legal points of entry, not across rivers and deserts. And if they keep coming in, maybe it’s time to pay attention to something Republicans love to get high on: the rule of supply and demand. Drugs are coming in because Americans are addicted to them not because Mexicans or Clint Eastwood think being a mule is a good career move. If we legalized marijuana, the most trafficked drug at the border would become a thing of the past.

And if we spent the $5.7 billion Trump wants to waste on the wall (and the many more billions it would actually cost to build to completion) on drug treatment programs instead, maybe we could start making headway against the opioid epidemic at home and the rising captures of heroin and meth at the border. To put this in perspective, there are now a half dozen to a dozen overdoses a week in Flagler that we know of, and not a single bed for adult or adolescent males in a treatment center in the county. Not one. Replicate that dearth of services across the country, and you’re closer to a national emergency than anything happening at the border.

On Monday 58 Republican and Democratic former national security officials issued a formal statement declaring that there’s no factual basis for Trump’s emergency. They include many who’ve served under every president going back to the first George Bush. There’s a pretty strong bi-partisan consensus on this, itself a startling achievement these days of ideological secession. There’s also evidence, and math, there’s reason and, deep down in our hardened hearts, there’s still a bit of Emma Lazarus, or ought to be.

We don’t have to downplay strong sentiment for border controls. But those controls are in place and have been improving. The numbers prove it. Maybe they can improve further, but not at the cost of a useless wall, or through equally lynching impulses like our own Gov. Ron DeSantis’s call on all local sheriffs this week to become ICE collaborators. As if anti-immigrant fevers let loose by latter-day talk-show Father Coughlins weren’t enough.

We have crises on our hands, some of them damn near emergencies. We also have an American leader not only genuflecting to autocrats from Turkey to Russia to Saudi Arabia, but behaving like them. If there is a national emergency, he’s it. An undocumented immigrant in comparison is a Walt Whitman poem on legs who still hears America singing, though it’s getting harder to hear why.

Pierre Tristam is FlaglerLive’s editor. Reach him by email here or follow him @PierreTristam. A version of this piece aired on WNZF.

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39 Responses for “What National Emergency?”

  1. Eric R says:

    How sadly misinformed. You will certainly be sorry when you realize that your beliefs can be catastrophic and will eventually affect you in a most horrible way..

  2. Palmcoaster says:

    Kudos Pierre for the bared reality in your editorial. Yeah what emergency? Maybe soon we will uncover one by his son in law giving out our most precious nuclear secrets to his Saudi buddies and other USA enemies for billions after Potus ordered his security clearance granted. Thief,Traitor and Tyrant we better be aware. In comparison back then: “In one of the most sensational trials in American history, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are convicted of espionage for their role in passing atomic secrets to the Soviets during and after World War II. The husband and wife were later sentenced to death and were executed in 1953”.

  3. David s. says:

    Trump is a joke period…..

  4. Not a fan of your bs says:

    Your political views are yours and your entitled to them how ever most of the things you referenced such as health care would ultimately also go down if illegal immigrants weren’t getting free health care have you been tour border say in like elpaso? You should or some where like San Clemente California where illegal immigrants have taken over it’s a different world compared to our cush sunny FL living. I guess what I’m saying I feel your just spreading your political agenda and I feel if you can run a story about your political agenda then when will you run mine or anyone else’s?

  5. Twisted Facts says:

    Since passage of the National Emergencies Act in 1976, every U.S. President has declared multiple national emergencies: Carter (2); Reagan: (6); H.W. Bush (4); Clinton (17); W. Bush (12); Obama: (13); Trump (4).

    Please tell me how this one is so terrible. If you think this one is bad and wasted wait until you read about all the other ones including obamas,,, way to twist the facts as usual news.

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      Glad you brought that up Twisted. You’re right, national emergencies are not unique to Zeus. Here’s a list of more than two dozen national emergencies still in effect as of a year and a half ago, as reported by CNN, not including Trump’s declaration on opioids (which he’s not done much with beyond the rhetoric). Some of them are ironic, some of them bizarre, most of them are ho-hum logical, but every single one of them has the support of congress, not a single one entails spending billions by getting around Congress. That’s how this one is so terrible. I looked at the Obama era ones. While I agree that he could be the occasional dictator too (his bombing campaigns all over the Middle East starting with Libya were textbook illegal) his emergencies were not that kind.

      1. Blocking Iranian Government Property (Nov. 14, 1979)
      2. Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (Nov. 14, 1994)
      3. Prohibiting Transactions with Terrorists Who Threaten to Disrupt the Middle East Peace Process (Jan. 23, 1995)
      4. Prohibiting Certain Transactions with Respect to the Development of Iranian Petroleum Resources (Mar. 15, 1995)
      5. Blocking Assets and Prohibiting Transactions with Significant Narcotics Traffickers (Oct. 21, 1995)
      6. Regulations of the Anchorage and Movement of Vessels with Respect to Cuba (Mar. 1, 1996)
      7. Blocking Sudanese Government Property and Prohibiting Transactions with Sudan (Nov. 3, 1997)
      8. Blocking Property of Persons Who Threaten International Stabilization Efforts in the Western Balkans (Jun. 26, 2001)
      9. Continuation of Export Control Regulations (Aug. 17, 2001)
      10. Declaration of National Emergency by Reason of Certain Terrorist Attacks (Sept. 14, 2001)
      11. Blocking Property and Prohibiting Transactions with Persons who Commit, Threaten to Commit, or Support Terrorism (Sept. 23, 2001)
      12. Blocking Property of Persons Undermining Democratic Processes or Institutions in Zimbabwe (Mar. 6, 2003)
      13. Protecting the Development Fund for Iraq and Certain Other Property in Which Iraq has an Interest (May 22, 2003)
      14. Blocking Property of Certain Persons and Prohibiting the Export of Certain Goods to Syria (May 11, 2004)
      15. Blocking Property of Certain Persons Undermining Democratic Processes or Institutions in Belarus (Jun. 16, 2006)
      16. Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Oct. 27, 2006)
      17. Blocking Property of Persons Undermining the Sovereignty of Lebanon or Its Democratic Processes and Institutions (Aug. 1, 2007)
      18. Continuing Certain Restrictions with Respect to North Korea and North Korean Nationals (Jun. 26, 2008)
      19. Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Conflict in Somalia (Apr. 12, 2010)
      20. Blocking Property and Prohibiting Certain Transactions Related to Libya (Feb. 25, 2011)
      21. Blocking Property of Transnational Criminal Organizations (Jul. 25, 2011)
      22. Blocking Property of Persons Threatening the Peace, Security, or Stability of Yemen (May 16, 2012)
      23. Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine (Mar. 6, 2014)
      24. Blocking Property of Certain Persons With Respect to South Sudan (Apr. 3, 2014)
      25. Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Conflict in the Central African Republic (May 12, 2014)
      26. Blocking Property and Suspending Entry of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Venezuela (Mar. 9, 2015)
      27. Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities (Apr. 1, 2015)
      28. Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Burundi (Nov. 23, 2015)

  6. robjr says:

    Imbecile in chief’s make America white again campaign.

  7. Richard says:

    This “national emergency” has been ongoing for decades but previous congresses and presidents never had the ‘balls” to do anything about it because the topic was always used as a political weapon for them to temporarily sway voters in order to get their votes. Then after these blowhard politicians would get into power nothing would be done to improve the situation at the southern border. I have had it with “those” people! Give me a true businessman who knows how to get stuff accomplished to run the country versus any of the wacko’s today trying to ruin our country by selling out the freedoms that our country was built on plus telling people you don’t have to do anything but to sit idly by and “we” will do it all for you FREE! If you believe that bullshit then you just might be interested in the millions of acres of “prime” land in Florida for sale.

  8. Steve says:

    when i see headlines like this I know its you because you are so misinformed and bias
    .I never read the articles because you are an Idiot

  9. Dustin says:

    Nice to know you voiced exactly how you view undocumented immigrants (go read that out loud over and over). Kudos to you for that. Interesting that you also think the true crisis is lower American birth rates and see undocumented immigrants helping to fill that awful big decline. It is important to have a borderless country, to let anyone and everyone in. If you could please share your home address, that would be great. I’m sure you never lock your doors so anyone and everyone can just come on in. You most definitely leave your cashed paychecks on your table, your health insurance card, ID, etc for anyone to just go ahead and use. Wonderful. This is exactly what America needs. Thank you.

  10. Fredrick says:

    ho hum…. the same rhetoric as always. If the liberals would just agree that immigrants are welcome but get in line and come here legally. I know, I know, you just want the cheap labor to mow your liberal lawns, pick your fruits and vegetables. But we are a country of laws. Those laws need to be enforced and our borders respected.

  11. Dave says:

    This story is written by a crack head for sure. Been drink much obama koolaid. Guy is insane just like the rest of the dems presidental canidates.

  12. Downtown says:

    This is real simple. Don’t try to make it complicated.
    If I come to your house unannounced I would imagine you would prefer that I come to the front door, ring the doorbell and wait to be invited inside or would it be ok if I just walk around the side of your house and crawl through a bedroom window. When I’m discovered you call the police but when they arrive I explain that your house is better than mine so I entered because I wanted a better life. The cops feel sorry for me and turn a blind eye to the fact that I have broken the law and let me stay. Is this how you want our immigration laws to work?

  13. Howard Brazee says:

    Congress gives the president powers that the Constitution gives to Congress. There’s a good reason for this when the response to an emergency needs to be done immediately.

    However, all of these emergencies, should have an automatic expiration date. I recommend making it 90 days. That would be sufficient time for Congress to take over its constitutional duties.

    When the president uses “national security” as a reason to tax trade with Canada, or bomb Syria or build a wall—he should only have 90 days before his actions expire.

  14. William Moya says:

    Eventually Trump will go, but, alas, our political system will not. We still venerate, and have to work, with a constitution that was written for a agrarian society, if not a feudal one, that was tailor to protect minority governments (i’m not talking about people like me) and was made practically impossible to change, thus crating legions of lawyer (whom I respect and admire, yes, i’m jealous) that turn themselves into intellectual pretzels to make the constitution conformed with modernity.

    That order brought about Capitalism that has permeated the American psyche, not just in economic terms, a system design to create uber millionaires, but also that plays the role of king maker in politics, and a mystic system, enter Max Weber “The protestant ethic and the spirit of Capitalism”

    We have our work cut out for us, to transform America into the dream we fell in love with.

  15. Mark says:

    You obviously know way more than us peons. So drugs are coming in mostly thru ports of entry? Do you actually know the amount of drugs coming in via the unsecured parts of the border? How can that be determined, oh brilliant one. How many people cross the border without being counted? Do you have a handle on that number, or do you use the SWAG method that fits your agenda? This “emergency” has been going on for many years and as Trump does, he does something about it vs other Presidents who play politics over doing what is right. I know he is a racist, deplorable, and all the other names but at least he gets things done. I know you have NEVER stared at women or tried to get in any woman’s pants, never spoken an off colored joke, made fun of somebody or insulted a group of people, except for conservatives or Trump, you are an angel to everyone all the time. One day you will wake up and realize that there are no magic bullets to solving these complicated problems, no a wall will not stop drugs, but it would make it more difficult for the drug smugglers to ship drugs here. Not to mention help decrease human trafficking, dangerous trips across the desert wilderness for kids and families and a host of other problems. Do you have any idea how many people entered our country illegally that aren’t counted? Another SWAG perhaps? Why don’t you have some of these undocumented migrants live in your home? Why don’t you personally support some of them? Why don’t you pay their medical bills and fund their education?

    We need legal immigrant labor to do our lowly work not illegal immigrants. No, no TERRORIST attacks, but many other crimes are being committed by some of the illegal entrants. So anything to decrease the problem the better for us. I guess all those liberal votes for the Secure Fence Act were bad, they were being overreactive, racist and immoral at the time and now they see the light. If it’s so bad here why do so many want to come here?I find only one of CNN’s list of ongoing NATIONAL emergencies an actual emergency, #2. And this is just a list of ongoing emergencies. Let’s hear about hear about the ones that are not ongoing. It’s been used 58 times and some of Bush’s were actual emergencies affecting the US. Does blocking property constitute a NATIONAL EMERGENCY?

    Democrats never WASTE money on anything. That’s why the all become millionaires when they SERVE our country. The list would be too long to post here.

    Yup, Trump is the national emergency, his Hitler like policies are destroying our country, economic growth is bad, talking with Kim is bad, trying to protect our laws is bad, following the laws is bad, not saving the world by spending trillions on climate change is bad (while countries like China and India are the worlds greatest polluters, it’s just us who can stop it), brown shirted cops latching on to criminals is bad for us, on and on it goes.

    I love how the left whines about “our country is divided” while your rhetoric divides just as much as Trump’s tweets. You are like the woman in Congress that used a veiled attack of one of her fellow Congressmen basically calling him a racist. Your veiled name calling and insulting snide remarks are just that, name calling and insults. They make your arguments weak, evoking emotions over facts, just like Trump’s.

  16. Jose Vasquez says:

    When hordes of Europeans were pouring into this country by the millions it was never “a problem” now a caravan of 10,000 brown skinned people and its an invasion. The Presidents agenda is more about trying to keep the country white by severely limiting all forms of immigration through the scapegoating and demonizing people of color as rapists, murderers, and drug dealers. He stokes fear and racial division while lamenting why people from “Norway” don’t want to come here. His is a racist agenda and a false narrative of a crisis at the border which completely ignores the truth and the facts about immigrants. I am all for legal immigration but we have to recognize that many migrants come to this country looking for a better life and seeking asylum from their pitiful existance from where they came. A case in point right now is the President’s initiative to remove Venezuela’s dictator Maduro for the economic and social collapse and the consequences being paid by the people themselves so why is he DEPORTING Venezuelans back to Venezuela when they come here seeking asylum. Trump is a prolific liar and hypocrite and he has disgraced the office of Presidency and has thoroughly divided this country with his agenda of hate.

  17. Edith Campins says:

    @ Mark, no one has to “swag” anything. The statistics on the declining numbers of illegal immigrants can be found on the official Border Patrol, government website. The statistics on the amount, the type of drugs and how they come in can be found on the US Customs and Homeland Security, official government websites. They contradict all of trump’s statements on those issues.
    @Richard, if by a “true businessman” you are alluding to trump,..perhaps you can explain why every business, other than the real estate business he inherited, has failed. 16 lines of business in all, 4 bankruptcies, a charitable foundation closed down for corruption, , literally thousands of lawsuits and no way to know what he is really worth or how in debt he is to foreign entities because he won’t disclose his taxes.

  18. cg says:

    The real emergency in this country is gun violence. Compliments of the Republican Party and the nra.

  19. rst says:

    Right on Pierre. You will withstand all negative responses; furthermore, you will be on the right side of history…

  20. Bill says:

    @Jose Vasquez

    When the hordes of Europeans as you say came here im taking that you mean the mass immigration in the late 1800s and early 1900s. For the most part they followed the law of immigration that where in place back then. Today we are talking about people who do NOT follow the immigration laws in place NOW. Another HUGE difference from then to today is back then the new immigrants needed to be self sportive or have help from others like family to make a new life. Today’s can get GOVERNMENT aid something NO immigrant should get legal or ILLEGAL IMO.

  21. Alan says:

    The days of the news being real news is almost over. Thank you for bringing up all of the other national emergency’s!!! We have had but the hate for this president runs deep! Just like someone said my healthcare was going to get cheaper and I could pick my doctor! Let’s talk about that and how much it is costing me know for my family healthcare. Hey and pretty soon if you don’t want to work you will not have to. If they have their way your doctor will get paid the same as the kid flipping burgers. What is wrong with this county.

  22. Disgrace says:

    That should fire you . You do not know what u speak .

  23. palmcoaster says:

    I couldn’t have said it any better Mr. Vasquez!

  24. lamo says:

    Soo, what I’m reading in a lot of the comments is, we should ignore the law, and let this country go to shit, like the country they are running from, great idea, if you are a complete moron. Just like guns kill people, spoons make people fat. Fake ass media, pushing their own propaganda, tell me how I’m wrong???

  25. Sherry says:

    Congratulations Jose Vasquez. . . a truly great comment!

  26. Outside Looking Out says:

    I read the first two sentences of Pierre’s stupid article and quit. I’ve related his articles to a car crash that one passes and tries not to look at the carnage and this time I’ve made it. I’m not looking at his disrespectful article. I will say this… get accustomed to it Pierre, you’ve got over five more years of our great president and there’s nothing you can do but continue your crying.

  27. Ritchhie says:

    Pierre,
    You’re brave and so accurate.

  28. fredrick says:

    @jose…. I call BS. The only form of immigration that anyone is trying to eliminate is ILLEGAL immigration. Those “hordes” you speak of came in through door legally. The more you liberals scream and cry and say anything different the more you ensure your defeat in 2020. All are welcome, just get in line and do it legally. We are a country of laws…. they need to be followed.

  29. Willy Boy says:

    Citizenship based on jus soli (birthplace), Need to change that! The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that there are 4.5 million children who were born to unauthorized immigrants that received citizenship via birth in the United States.

  30. Mark says:

    @ Edith,

    Then please tell me how many people cross the border through the open desert/unsecured border that aren’t caught or counted. 0 or 50,000? Tell me the amount of drugs crossing the unsecured parts of the border border that are not caught or counted, 0 or 1 million lbs? What government entity publishes those numbers. But, let’s not go there, it doesn’t fit the left’s agenda. What are the facts related to these questions? Got any?

  31. Jose Vasquez says:

    @frederick Let us take a look at the “legal” Immigration that you are speaking of. First it was limited to White Europeans ONLY and discriminated against people of color by prohibiting their entry into the United States. “Legal” laws like the Chinese Exclusion Act which singled out Asians specifically to be barred from entry simply based on their ethnicity. Legal Immigration was designed to keep America White and maintain White domination. It was the need for cheap labor that immigration was extended to Mexico, South America, China or in the case of Africans, Slave labor and those immigrants were not initially considered US citizens. Today racism continues to play a huge role in the declaring of a crisis at the border and our racist President plays up that angle as it resonates well with his support base. Let us keep in mind that Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Southern California once belonged to MEXICO before they were stolen just like the rest of this continent from its Native Indian inhabitants. Does the “legal” Indian Removal Act come to mind or that Slavery was also “legal”. If the people at our Southern Border were White I am sure that neither Trump nor his support base would be having an issue with their entry.

  32. Jason B says:

    Hopefully after the orange rosebud leaves office, the adults can sit down and find some logical solutions to the immigration question, perhaps something more nuanced than “brown people bad”.

  33. Dave says:

    I love how when people see facts they dont like, they call you misinformed lolol. Illegal immigration is at an all time low in 40 years, enough said. I think it’s just hard for the Trump base to see threw lies and hate and just accept the truth. There is no emergency in the US over immigration, it’s just bad politics

  34. gmath55 says:

    The secret wall-building society meets in the usual place tonight with the supplies from Lowe’s. They know what time.

  35. Erin S says:

    A county without borders is not a country. Coming to America is a privilege, not a right. Want to come, do it legally and assimilate to our culture or just stay home and make your own country a place you want to be.

  36. Weldon Ryan says:

    This article hits the nail on the head! I can’t be amazed anymore as to the stupidity I hear and read from the rhetoric coming from these so called patriots of the Republican persuasion. The truth has been hitting them directly in the nose and yet they still tote the b.s. The tax cuts are hitting them in the pockets this tax season and yet???

  37. Get in Line says:

    I wait in line very long time to be a citizen. Now you need to go in same line. Things worth having are worth waiting. I know more about this. Listen and wait in your line like the law always saying. You can come here like law say it, or you break law and not right way. Get in Line. Mr Trump have my respect and he is president for all peoples. It so bad what you say on this man.

  38. Me says:

    Pierre well written and very accurate. You are so right when you said Trump is our national emergency and something needs to be done in Congress before he causes more damage. It is becoming so obvious how corrupt the Republican party has become not to stop Trump but play a long with him. And, I would bet we will be seeing a lot more of his buddies and family members being charged with crimes. It is coming.

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