Trump's National Emergency Is A Sham

Dear Trump, Your National Emergency Is Sham, Pick Up A Constitution

The President's declaration is nothing short of an illegal, unconstitutional power grab.

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On Friday, February 15th, President Trump declared a national emergency to secure funding for his wall after failing to get this funding from Congress. As I write this, 16 states are challenging the emergency declaration in court.

While I believe that there are certainly more effective ways to deal with the issue of illegal immigration than building a physical wall, Trump's actions are not only disturbing as a matter of public policy; they fundamentally upend the constitutional norms of our federal government, subverting our precious system of checks and balances and fueling Trump's authoritarian tendencies.

The Constitution clearly gives Congress the power of the purse. Congress is the body that is supposed to decide how to spend taxpayer money, and on what federal policy programs. So controlling government revenue is the domain of the legislative branch, not the executive. The Trump Administration has invoked the National Emergencies Act of 1976 to justify the President's action. While this statute certainly gives Presidents sweeping authority to declare an emergency, the act has up until now been used only for real emergencies, like a terrorist attack or a hurricane.

Bush declared a national emergency after Hurricane Katrina and Obama declared one to deal with the Swine Flu Epidemic. The purpose of the act was to allow the President to immediately deal with a crisis and direct the resources of the federal government to this end. By taking this law and applying it to his signature policy issue to build his vanity project, Trump is going against the legislative intent and circumventing the will of Congress while usurping their constitutional authority.

Illegal immigration certainly is an important policy issue and the US immigration system is in dire need of reform. But to say, as Trump does, that this is a national emergency is the textbook definition of fear-mongering, blowing up a problem for the sake of political gain. If Trump cared about facts, he would acknowledge that illegal border crossings have in fact declined in recent years. Even the use of the word "invasion", conjuring up images of war and disease reflects Trump's ugly xenophobia.

The National Emergencies Act allows the President to direct military construction that is necessary to support the armed forces; Trump's wall does not fit that description. While such action helps Trump with his base, it does violence to the fundamental norms of our political system. The Founding Fathers are probably rolling in their graves.

It's also been frustrating to see Republicans, who constantly claim to wholeheartedly defend the liberty of Americans against big government, falling in line. Republican politicians who regularly criticized Obama for his immigration executive orders are now supporting this unconstitutional overreach. During the Obama Administration, conservatives constantly complained about an Imperial Presidency.

Now that a Republican is in the White House doing using executive power to do something they like, they have forgotten these concerns. But this new embrace of expanded Presidential authority may come back to haunt Republicans when a Democrat wins the White House and starts declaring national emergencies over climate change and gun violence.

At the end of the day, it comes down to this- If, as the Trump Administration seems to believe, the President has the power to declare a national emergency over any important issue of public policy, then our country isn't a constitutional republic; it's a dictatorship. Though I don't think Trump has even read the Constitution. To echo Khizr Khan's iconic moment at the 2016 Democratic Convention, I would gladly lend him my copy.

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I Might Have Aborted My Fetus When I Was 18, But Looking Back, I Saved A Child’s Life

It may have been one of the hardest decisions of my life, but I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't had done it.

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Due to recent political strife happening in the world today, I have decided to write on a very touchy, difficult subject for me that only a handful of people truly know.

When I was 18 years old, I had an abortion.

I was fresh out of high school, and deferring college for a year or two — I wanted to get all of my immature fun out so I was prepared to focus and work in the future. I was going through my hardcore party stage, and I had a boyfriend at the time that truly was a work of art (I mean truly).

Needless to say, I was extremely misinformed on sex education, and I never really thought it could happen to me. I actually thought I was invincible to getting pregnant, and it never really registered to me that if I had unprotected sex, I could actually get pregnant (I was 18, I never said I was smart).

I remember being at my desk job and for weeks, I just felt so nauseous and overly tired. I was late for my period, but it never really registered to me something could be wrong besides just getting the flu — it was November, which is the peak of flu season.

The first person I told was my best friend, and she came with me to get three pregnancy tests at Target. The first one came negative, however, the second two came positive.

I truly believe this was when my anxiety disorder started because I haven't been the same ever since.

Growing up in a conservative, Catholic Italian household, teen pregnancy and especially abortion is 150% frowned upon. So when I went to Planned Parenthood and got the actual lab test done that came out positive, I was heartbroken.

I felt like I was stuck between two roads: Follow how I was raised and have the child, or terminate it and ultimately save myself AND the child from a hard future.

My boyfriend at the time and I were beyond not ready. That same week, I found out he had cheated on me with his ex and finances weren't looking so great, and I was starting to go through the hardest depression of my life. Because of our relationship, I had lost so many friends and family, that I was left to decide the fate of both myself and this fetus. I could barely take care of myself — I was drinking, overcoming drug addictions, slightly suicidal and living with a man who didn't love me.

As selfish as you may think this was, I terminated the fetus and had the abortion.

I knew that if I had the child, I would be continuing the cycle in which my family has created. My goal since I was young was to break the cycle and breakaway from the toxicity in how generations of children in my family were raised. If I had this child, I can assure you my life would be far from how it is now.

If I had carried to term, I would have had a six-year old, and God knows where I would've been.

Now, I am fulfilling my future by getting a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, having several student leadership roles, and looking into law schools for the future.

Although it still haunts me, and the thought of having another abortion truly upsets me, it was the best thing to ever happen to me. I get asked constantly "Do you think it's just to kill a valuable future of a child?" and my response to that is this:

It's in the hands of the woman. She is giving away her valuable future to an unwanted pregnancy, which then resentment could cause horror to both the child and the woman.

As horrible as it was for me in my personal experience, I would not be where I am today: a strong woman, who had overcome addiction, her partying stage, and ultimately got her life in order. If I would have had the child, I can assure you that I would have followed the footsteps of my own childhood, and the child would not have had an easy life.

Because of this, I saved both my life and the child's life.

And if you don't agree or you dislike this decision, tough stuff because this is my body, my decision, my choice — no one else.

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