Connecticut Atty. Gen. William Tong has joined a lawsuit with 15 other states against President Trump's declaration of a federal emergency, which the president plans to use to justify spending otherwise-appropriated money to complete a wall across the Mexican border. Tong says that he aims to protect the U.S. Constitution and the state, but, accusing the president of "racism and hate," he is engaging mainly in the demagogic posturing that characterized his recent campaign.
Tong notes that Congress has refused to authorize spending for the wall and that diverting funds to build it could hamper federal projects in Connecticut. Further, the attorney general and other Democratic officials in Connecticut and nationally argue that illegal immigration is not really an emergency.
But federal law authorizes such money transfers upon an emergency declaration and leaves the president to define emergencies. So even legal analysts who disdain Trump expect the lawsuit against the declaration to fail at the Supreme Court.
Besides, those who object to Trump's emergency declaration long have gotten far too comfortable with illegal immigration.
Illegal immigration was supposed to have been stopped by the Simpson-Mazzoli Act of 1986, which bestowed a grand amnesty on illegal immigrants in exchange for more border security, but the border security never materialized. So today the foreign-born proportion of the U.S. population is higher than ever; the country's illegal population is estimated at 11 million; most illegals intercepted at the border enjoy the government's hapless practice of "catch and release"; most of those released never appear for court proceedings, instead disappearing into the ever-growing communities of illegals throughout the country, like New Haven, one of the first "sanctuary cities"; and there is less assimilation and more separatism by immigrants.
While Tong postures against "racism and hate," his party's legislators in the General Assembly are advancing legislation to require medical insurers to sell policies to illegal immigrants, which will be more facilitation of illegal immigration and more nullification of federal law on top of the driver's licenses and tuition discounts Connecticut already offers illegals.
Yes, there may be better measures than a wall for stopping illegal immigration -- like requiring all employers to use the "e-Verify" system of confirming eligibility for employment, and imposing serious penalties on employers of illegals.
But most Democrats oppose such measures and anything that might substantially reduce illegal immigration. And while Democrats in Congress complain about the cost of Trump's wall, every month they happily sneeze away far more money on the futile 18-year military adventure in Afghanistan. Trump's wall won't be perfectly effective, but it will be far more effective and humane than what the Democrats condone in Afghanistan.
Despite the attorney general's demagoguery, there is nothing racist or hateful in controlling immigration so the country knows what it is getting -- whether it is getting people of decent character and skills, people who want to live in a democratic and secular society rather than a totalitarian and theocratic one, people who want to become Americans and help build the country, or people who just want to undercut wages in menial work and wire the money back across the border or exploit the country's generous welfare system.
So even if illegal immigration isn't an emergency, at least Trump sees it as a problem. His wall beats the Democrats' nullification.
Chris Powell is a columnist for the Journal Inquirer, in Manchester, Conn.