Democrats and Republicans in East Tennessee share some common ground on the issue of immigration and the best way to handle reform.
Friday, President Trump signed a budget, which keeps the government open but also declared a national emergency at the U.S. southern border to get funding for border wall construction.
Many local voters on the left and on the right are thankful the government isn’t shutting down again.
Thankful government isn’t shutting down
Betty Miller comes to Wright’s Cafeteria at least three times a week. While many come out for the home cooking and hospitality, Miller comes to catch up with her friends.
While politics rarely come up, Friday, Miller chimed in on the latest news coming from the White House.
Miller is against illegal immigration, which she says have been top of mind since the tragic wreck that killed 22-year-old Pierce Corcoran on Chapman Highway.
“That’s the thing that started it. it really hit home when the boy got killed in the wreck,” she said.
While she agrees a wall would help curb the issue, she doesn’t believe declaring a national emergency was the right route.
Illegal immigration an issue
“It could be a hurricane or something like that, you know what I mean, war, you know, if Cuba or somebody, you know, Iran, somebody attacked us,” she added. Miller says her approval of the President since the shutdown is medium. “It’s not really high, but it’s not really low,” she said.
Jean Irwin, a Republican, did not personally know anyone impacted by the recent partial government shutdown but said she’s against it.
Irwin is also against illegal immigration.
“If they want to come over here, make it legal…They need to make it right. When I was a little girl and growing up, I always tried to do the right thing and obey the rules and I think they should, too,” she said.
Larry DeMarcus is a Democrat and believes the immigration problem is an emergency.
“We need something. We have more illegals in this country than we need. Half of them can’t speak English or more than that, but they do the work that nobody else wants to do, that’s the problem we’ve got here in this country.”
DeMarcus concedes, he doesn’t know what the solution is, but he doesn’t believe the President is the right person to make the decision.
“He just can’t say well, I’m going to declare a national emergency and take it from here and take it from there, he’s going to weaken us in different places just so he can get his Trump memorial wall,” he added.
‘They’re not doing their job’
DeMarcus also has little faith in a physical barrier along the border. He believes more security, in the form of armed guards, is needed over a structure he believes people can go under.
“I personally have lost faith in both parties. They’re not doing their job. It’s ‘my gang against your gang.’ There’s not a patriot up there that I’ve seen in a long time.”
Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law Professor Stewart Harris predict an actual court battle ahead, not just in the court of public opinion.
While the President acknowledged Friday he’s likely to be challenged in Federal Court and predicts, ultimately, his national emergency order will be tested by the Supreme Court – Harris agrees.
Harris says Trump’s biggest challenge will be convincing the court this action involves an actual emergency.
Congress vs. the president
While Harris says the SCOTUS is primarily conservative, he says, they’re opposed to executive overreach.
“All of the evidence I have seen, there is no crisis at the border. These caravans are not attacking us. There is no military emergency. It’s not like the Korean War, World War II, the Whiskey Rebellion, in fact, the data indicates border crossings have gone down over the years. This looks really much more like a basic difference in policy between Congress on one hand and the president on the other,” he said.