The Atlantic

Why Trump Is Trying to Create a Crisis

The president didn’t declare a state of national emergency on Tuesday night, but he laid the foundation for doing so.
Source: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

Donald Trump devoted remarkably little of his Tuesday-night Oval Office address to persuading Americans to support a border wall. He discussed his beloved barrier for only a few sentences and didn’t rebut any of the criticisms commonly leveled at it. He never explained how the federal government would take possession of the land needed to build the wall, why migrants wouldn’t be able to climb over or dig under it, or even how much of the border it would actually cover.

This inattention fits to fund Trump’s wall in exchange for legalizing the undocumented “dreamers” who had come to the United States as children. But Trump the deal by demanding cuts in legal immigration. Then, the following month, —including all but three Democrats—voted for a bill to provide , including “physical barriers” and “fencing,” along with protections for the dreamers. But the White House spurned that legislation in favor of an enforcement-only bill that had no chance of passage. Nonetheless, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, recently that over the past two years, Congress has in fact “provided nearly $1.7 billion to build or replace fencing on the southern border.” The administration has spent only 6 percent of those funds.

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