United States Constitution

Article I Section 8 (Congressional dictates)

11: To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water

12: To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

13: To provide and maintain a Navy

Article II Section 2 (Presidential dictate)

1: The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States


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The Congress of the United States has the power to form and provide funds for the military of this country. The Congress, and only Congress, can declare war. The President is the commander in chief of the military.

What is the significance of this?

Congress is responsible for providing the means to recruit military personnel and to provide funds for the military to carry out its function. The president — as commander in chief — has total control of what the military’s function is and how best to use its powers. The only limitation in the Constitution on the president’s authority is that the he cannot wage war without the permission of Congress.

As I write this, President Trump has announced his decision to use military funds and military personnel to secure our southern border with a wall, barrier, fence, or whatever other name one chooses to call a physical restraint, to keep unwanted persons out of our country. When Congress passes legislation to fund the military, what term is used for that legislation? It is called defense appropriations, or the defense budget.

If another country were to mobilize a military force at one of our borders and advance with the intention of invading our country, there would not be the slightest reservation that troops should be deployed to meet this force. If there were enough time, it would also be perfectly reasonable that barriers be erected to inhibit that invasion.


The United States is currently experiencing an invasion at its southern border. If the numbers of folks coming into this country illegally were a couple, or tens, or even hundreds, then the word invasion might be an over exaggeration. However, there are thousands and tens of thousands of people entering (invading) our country illegally.

Recently, we have experienced caravans (mobilized foreign individuals) that number up to 10,000 people approaching the southern border en masse with more on the way. The use of defense appropriations to defend the border would certainly qualify as proper use of funds.

President Trump announced that he is using a national emergency law that was passed decades ago to justify his action. The National Emergency Act has been used by presidents more than 50 times and there are currently 30 or more of these declarations still in effect.

It is mystifying as to why the president even needed to use the National Emergency Act. He is in control of the military. He has already proven during these past few months that he has the authority to deploy military to the border. As commander in chief he has the military budget at his disposal and the military personnel with which to implement this action. The military already uses thousands of private contractors for various projects and he could use this same method for the construction of the barrier.

What justifies keeping these invading groups out of our country? It is not complicated, as some would make it.

They are breaking the law. If someone makes a conscious decision to break the law, is it really that difficult to imagine that they break other laws? Is there really a serious problem with other kinds of criminal activity coming across the border such as drugs, terrorists or gang members?

Mark Morgan is a former chief of the Border Patrol under President Obama. If you research his statements on the problem of illegal persons crossing the border, you will find that he is adamant that all of President Trump’s statements for the need of a barrier are accurate.

Build the wall.

Another View is a weekly column written collaboratively by Dale Landrith of Camden, Ken Frederic of Bristol, Paul Ackerman of Martinsville, Jan Dolcater of Rockport and Ralph “Doc” Wallace of Rockport.

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