Trump warns of U.S. border crisis from the Oval Office

Jesse Day / January 9th, 2019

Trump used the Oval Office to express his concerns about the southern U.S. border.
(Donald Trump / Twitter)

“Day after day, precious lives are cut short by those who have violated our borders.” – Donald Trump

Donald Trump took to the Oval Office to make a public address on Tuesday night, with the intent of selling the American people on his proposed, infamous border wall.

This marked the first time Trump has used the Oval Office to make a speech; Oval Office speeches aren’t common in American history and are typically reserved for only the most pressing issues. Past Oval Office speeches include Kennedy trying to ease the minds of Americans during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, and George W. Bush’s 2001 address to the American public in the wake of 911.

On Tuesday, Trump sat in the Oval Office and claimed that America is in the midst of a “growing humanitarian and security crisis” at the southern border. Trump stressed that every day there are “thousands of illegal immigrants trying to enter (America)” who pose a “massive threat” to the country’s safety.

Trump seems to think his Oval Office speech went over better than most experts.

Trump’s major points during the speech related to the “dangers” of “illegal” immigrants. Canadian immigration and refugee lawyer, Zool Suleman, sees this as problematic.

“Trying to use refugees as bargaining chips for domestic politics is a dangerous thing. I think the President, as he knows, is starting to create problems for refugees, and I think that’s a mistake. ” – Zool Suleman, Canadian immigration and refugee lawyer

Trump’s desire to deny refugees access to the U.S. and strengthen security at the southern U.S. border is questionable under international law. Suleman compares it to Trump’s previous “Muslim ban”. Suleman says Trump was able to impose the Muslim ban because, in the U.S., the president has executive power if he declares a state of emergency.

“If the President is claiming that there is an emergency going on, then he does have some executive power to act on that emergency. The question, of course, is if there is an emergency. This would obviously be challenged in the courts… Trump does have some powers, could he use those powers? Perhaps. Would he be successful? Very hard to know.”  –  Zool Suleman, Canadian immigration and refugee lawyer

If Trump does use his executive power to close the southern border, Suleman thinks a legal scenario similar to the one that followed the Muslim ban could take place.

“When Trump first came in, he used his executive power to impose the Muslim ban… The courts fought back against that and there was a severe limitation of his power. So, the same drama could play out regarding his desire for the southern border.  ” –  Zool Suleman, Canadian immigration and refugee lawyer

Trump’s views on refugees are quite contrary to the previous policies of the United States and other developed countries. In 1948 the United Nations specified that refugees of countries in crisis have the right to seek asylum in a country other than their own. The international history of refugee protocol has seen many developments since then.

With files by Ben Ronald / BCIT News