Earlier this month, it was reported that the Trump administration, along with the Pentagon, transferred funds from military projects to fund endeavors for the proposed border wall.
The proposed plan aims to reallocate $3.6 billion from 127 military projects concerning internal defense mechanisms and international preparations. The diversion of funds by the executive is a complete misuse of its power, undermining the oversight of Congress on government spending. These issues must be discussed holistically by Congress so that they form a consensus on what is most important to spend on, instead of being decided upon by one person. The deliberation of Congress on the allocation of government funds is crucial. Especially if you consider the neglect of other issues that seem to get shadowed by the President’s call for a national emergency at the border.
The administration’s priorities, however they may justify them, do not come before consultation with Congress. This sentiment is outlined in the Constitution. The approval of the allocation of government funds was not given solely to one branch of government, and rightly so, to prevent the arbitrary distribution of government funds by order of one individual. Just as the president cannot declare war by his own will, he also cannot decide what is a priority of the national budget on his own. The belief held by the current administration is one of unsubstantiated fear and entitlement toward immigrants from south of the border. This position of anti-immigration is front and center in Trump’s administration, which apparently will do whatever it can to get the wall done. But these actions are irrational in the grand scheme of defense-making in the U.S., ironically pulling funding from defense projects designed to fight actual threats.
These threats — which are of less importance to the president and his staff — include our brewing feud with the Chinese, which has the potential to boil over in the future as their economy grows parallel to ours. Instead, families crossing the southern border to seek a better life is a “national crisis” and must take priority, according to the White House. It may be true that crime and drugs are brought over with some individuals across the border. It is still not enough of a scale to override the liberties of people whom we fear could be malicious. It is certainly not enough of a rate to neglect international tensions with Russia and China, which are both our rivals in power in the global scheme. The possibility of drug dealers and criminals crossing our borders should not outweigh the fear of a third world war. The economic threat of China alone should take precedence over undocumented immigrants who might affect the job market as they cross the border. China’s economy, while not being flexible, is parallel to ours in terms of power.
Siphoning funds from military projects designed to fight these threats is irresponsible, considering the danger of rival foreign nations. Even before the 2016 election, Trump placed the issue of immigration at the forefront of his platform, while failing to understand it is irrelevant in the wake of growing opposition in the international sphere — all while the tensions of China have been thrown to the side and not treated with the same attention as immigration. This neglect of growing tensions is exemplified by the tariffs placed on Chinese imports and the trade war we have gotten into as a result of poor handling of the situation. If we were to go into conflict with Russia and China, we run the risk of another world war ensuing, while issues of immigration will be an afterthought. What does it matter if immigrants illegally cross if we are at odds with the second most powerful superpower in the world? To neglect such an enormous threat only leaves us vulnerable to attack, since we are placing less funding in defense designed to combat the threats. Funding a wall is superficial in the face of a possible war in the future. Though we may be able to fund a wall and defense projects across the board, the issue of growing Chinese power is not a light one. The threat of warfare should be taken more seriously than immigration since lives will be at stake in the future. We are currently in a trade war with China, and our relationship with Russia has always been uneasy. Peace may be a reality right now, but it is undoubtedly uncertain in the immediate future.