‘Very dangerous, very quick:’ UConn students react to national emergency

In this Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, file photo, President Donald Trump declares a national emergency in order to build a wall along the southern border during an event in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a lawsuit Monday, Feb. 18, 2019, against Trump's emergency declaration to fund a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Becerra released a statement Monday saying 16 states — including California — allege the Trump administration's action violates the Constitution. (AP Photo Evan Vucci, File)

In this Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, file photo, President Donald Trump declares a national emergency in order to build a wall along the southern border during an event in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a lawsuit Monday, Feb. 18, 2019, against Trump's emergency declaration to fund a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Becerra released a statement Monday saying 16 states — including California — allege the Trump administration's action violates the Constitution. (AP Photo Evan Vucci, File)

University of Connecticut students are not happy following President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on Friday. The emergency will give him funding to build a wall along the United States’ southern border, according to the New York Times.

This act allows Trump to use his emergency powers, which creates exceptions to rules that normally constrain him and bypass Congress’ previous ruling against the wall.

Anyone directly affected by the order can challenge it in court, according to the Washington Post. Congress can also draft their own resolution to end the state of emergency.

Several University of Connecticut students said they were not pleased with Trump’s national emergency. Spencer Buckley, a fourth-semester anthropology major, said that he thinks the decision is “very dangerous.”

“Historically, declaring national emergencies outside times of war [has] led to dictatorship,” Buckley said. “And so long as there is no challenge from Congress or SCOTUS, and given our president’s admiration for other leaders seizing power and ruling without challenge, this could become very dangerous, very quick.”

Ohm Patel, a second-semester biological science major, said that he wishes Trump will spend his time on more pressing issues.

“Trump declaring a national emergency so he can get permission to build a wall along the border just completely goes against what an actual emergency is,” Patel said. “The number of illegal immigrants has been down since he started his ‘witch hunt’ for illegals. There’s bigger issues such as healthcare, climate change and education but, instead of using eight billion dollars to fix those, he wants to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.”

Mason Vandenburg, a fourth-semester finance major, said that he thinks the wall will lead to economic issues.

“There are more pressing matters in this country around immigration and foreign policy than to build a wall that will not do anything for our country but hurt its economy,” Vandenburg said.

Matt Girard, a second-semester history major, said that this national emergency could become a problematic recurrence of presidents trying to circumvent Congress.

“Regardless of your opinions on ways to curb illegal immigration, the ideas of the Constitution should not trampled by the president,” Girard said. “This sets a bad precedent for future presidents, Democrat or Republican, in that they will consider bypassing Congress to impose future unpopular agendas on the people.”

Cameron John Cantelmo, a a sixth semester political science and economics major, said Trump’s beliefs do not coincide with his actions.

“I’m just wondering that, if he really believes it is a national emergency, why he didn’t declare an emergency day one into the Presidency,” Cantelmo said.

National emergencies have been declared since World War II, according to the Wall Street Journal. President Bill Clinton declared 17 emergencies, George W. Bush declared 12 and Barack Obama declared 13. In 2009, for example, President Obama declared an emergency because of the H1N1 swine flu epidemic.

Zach Saville, a second-semester mechanical engineering major, said Trump’s administration is simply not handling the severity of a national emergency appropriately.

“Personally speaking, the fact that Huckleberry Sanders used the notes app to announce it on Twitter and couldn't figure out how to remove the little black dot she left is a clear indication of how well the administration is handling this issue,” Saville said.


Rachel Philipson is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at rachel.philipson@uconn.edu.