President Donald Trump´s threat to declare a state of emergency to force funds for a U.S-México border wall without Congressional approval is a political move that endangers the separation of powers that strengthens democracy and protects the United States from totalitarianism.
More than a crisis in the southern border, according to the White House´s narrative, the United States faces a serious crisis that the political powers should wisely resolve. The federal shutdown, which Trump said he would extend for months or years, occurs amid midst an absurd struggle in which even propaganda strategies, that distort the truth, impact.
There is a growing anti-immigrant rhetoric in the government. It is that used in European countries where ultranationalism blames migrants -who risk their lives to cross the Mediterranean fleeing from wars, persecution and hunger- for their internal problems.
In America, a democracy currently being tested in the United States, is already facing a crisis in Venezuela and in Central American countries, such as Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala. Most of the migrants who are detained and crammed at the border, that Trump intends to close, flee from those countries.
However, the US security does not depend on the México border. The surveillance and prosecution of those who cross the border illegally is the hands of security forces. These continue working despite the three-week partial shutdown, caused by the dispute over the border wall.
The shutdown is affecting the US economy, its private economic sectors, as well as individuals and families. In Puerto Rico, we feel the effects of the federal struggle in the operation of national parks and uncertainty over funds for essential services.
Trump alleges that there is a security and humanitarian crisis at the southern border. The first one as stated in address to the Nation on Tuesday is an exaggeration. There is no evidence that the US is experiencing an increase in drug trafficking or goods smuggling or in crimes that threaten US citizens lives. On the contrary, data point to a drop in migration rates. Unlike before, instead of hiding, most of those who arrive at the border, go themselves through formal procedures hoping to find asylum.
The prolonged detention of hundreds of families, as a result of the White House´s dehumanizing policies to toughen treatment of migrants fleeing from violence, repressive regimes and lack of opportunities their countries, is a painful reality. The United States has a moral obligation to protect its borders respecting the human rights of those who ares seeking help.
A national emergency decree, which would grant extraordinary powers to the President, is the wrong strategy. That has only been used in two really extraordinary occasions in the past: one, by President Jimmy Carter after a hostage situation at the US Embassy in Irán in 1979; the other, by President George W. Bush after the attacks on the Twin Towers in 2001.
The migratory solution is searching for strategies to strengthen countries economies and eradicate inequalities and persecutions that drive the phenomenon.
The counterpart to the President's claims is the Constitution. Presidential powers will not be unlimited and can be blocked by Congress, elected by the people, and the courts.
We should watch the United States. Beyond the dispute over the border wall, the leading democratic country in the world seems to be under the heat of an autocratic tendency which has devastating effects already experienced in other countries.