Can Trump Use the Insurrection Act on Immigrants? – The Atlantic
Lawsuits will certainly challenge Trump’s invocation of the Insurrection Act to assist in immigration enforcement—a purpose for which it’s never previously been used. But the text of the statute would seem to be on the president’s side—underscoring just how broad the power is that Congress has delegated to the president, and just how much we have historically relied on political checks, rather than legal constraints, to circumscribe the president’s authority. As partisan tribalism has increasingly come to mark virtually every policy debate in Washington, those political checks have proved increasingly ineffective.
The obvious lesson here, as with the National Emergencies Act, the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, the Trade Expansion Act, and others, is that Congress ought to put less faith into these political checks, and more teeth into substantive statutory limits on the president’s authorities. In the case of the Insurrection Act, some of us have been arguing as much for years. But that can’t—and won’t—happen until members of this (or any) president’s own party, and not just his opponents, privilege the separation of powers over the separation of parties.