There is, indeed, a crisis at the border.
But it is not at the border between the United States and Mexico. This crisis is totally internal, at the border between raw executive might and our constitutional separation of powers.
And, while the impact of their actions may be limited, it is time for the United States Senate in general, and Utah’s senators in particular, to take a stand in defense of this all-important boundary.
The president of the United States, misusing a law intended to allow him to act in situations where the normal deliberations of Congress would be too slow to respond, has declared a thoroughly bogus national emergency so that he can raid the bank accounts of the Pentagon and other departments to, he says, quickly build a wall separating this nation from that one. It is based on the groundless claim that we are being overwhelmed — World War Z style — by hordes of dangerous, drug-dealing, disease-carrying aliens.
In a vote that is expected to come next week, Sen. Mitt Romney and Sen. Mike Lee should vote to cancel that declaration, as allowed by law. And, if the president vetoes that resolution, they should vote to override the veto. Respect for the Constitution and the limited government both senators say they favor demands no less.
There is a humanitarian mess at the border. But it is not Americans who are suffering from it. The misery is being borne almost exclusively by displaced persons — whole families — in desperate search of simple, safe place to live after having been driven from their native lands by bad government, civil wars and criminal gangs.
(Drug cartels are, indeed, to blame for much of the dysfunction of those nations. But that happens mostly because they are enriched, and heavily armed, by their willingness to supply Americans with a flow of drugs that will remain unending until the demand dries up. Which it won’t.)
The House of Representatives has already voted to quash the emergency declaration. That’s good, though it would be nice to think that happened because it was the right thing to do (which it is) and not because that body is now controlled by the Democratic Party and the vote was a reflex protest of the action of a Republican president.
The only Democrat in the Utah congressional delegation, Rep. Ben McAdams, voted to block the presidential action. The Republicans — Reps. Chris Stewart, Rob Bishop and John Curtis — had to tie themselves up in rhetorical knots to justify their votes to uphold the president.
Partisan warfare continues to overshadow all discussion of what is really happening at the border and what the government should do about it. Some renewed respect for the constitutional separation of powers could move all involved to start working toward real solutions rather than spending all their time and energy fighting the wrong battles.