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In the series of explaining Editorials’ Difficult Words, we have cherry-picked the below editorial from The Hindu. Reading the editorials on a daily basis will not only acquaint you with new words but will also improve your general awareness apart from helping you build a perspective on different issues.

Strange emergency: Donald Trump’s plan to build the Mexico border wall

Donald Trump’s latest move further undermines American democracy

Declaring a state of national emergency is hardly a trivial decision. While the U.S. has done so in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks and similar exigencies, President Donald Trump has opted for this measure in the context of what he has described as “an invasion of drugs and criminals” from across the border with Mexico. The move has further polarised Washington and put the strident immigration debate front and centre again. The context for the emergency is the longest federal government shutdown in U.S. history, for 35 days, that resulted in the shuttering of nine government agencies and the furlough of 800,000 government workers. The primary cause was Mr. Trump’s refusal to sign off on Congressional appropriations bills unless lawmakers agreed to hand over $5.7 billion to fund his plan to construct a border wall with Mexico. As the cost to the U.S. economy of the shutdown soared close to $11 billion by late-January, Mr. Trump backed down on his demand, yet warned that unless Congress yielded on the border wall funding, “I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and the Constitution of the U.S. to address this emergency.” Now he appears to have made good on that statement, probably on the basis that during national emergencies U.S. law permits the diversion of funds from military or disaster relief budgets to tackle the “crisis” at hand.

This begs the question of how real the emergency is and why the White House is devoting its considerable political capital to this one policy issue. Mr. Trump frequently alludes to the migration crisis that he believes has engulfed the southern border. It is true that more than 2,000 people were turned away or arrested at the border each day during November 2018, numbers that U.S. immigration hawks have seized upon to press the argument for a wall. Yet this figure has decreased considerably over the past decade, and border crossings by undocumented migrants are at an all-time low, down from 1.3 million in 2001 to about 40,000 in 2018. If this is then a purely political move that panders to Mr. Trump’s conservative voter base, it may stand on wobbly legal foundations. Already, the first few lawsuits challenging the emergency declaration are working their way through the courts. Further, Democrats, who now control the House of Representatives, may under their constitutional powers vote to terminate the emergency. This would put the Republican-controlled Senate on the back foot by requiring it to clarify its position on the status quo, by either supporting or defeating such a resolution. While Mr. Trump’s supporters are doubtless celebrating their Commander-in-Chief’s chutzpah for this move, the truth is that it will only take the U.S. further away from the ideal of peaceful coexistence within a pluralistic democracy.

Actual Sentence

Word

Meaning

Usage

Declaring a state of national emergency is hardly a trivial decision. trivial of little value or importance. It was a badly researched documentary which glossed over important questions while pointing up trivial ones.
[Pointing up means “Emphasizing, especially by identification”]
The move has further polarised Washington and put the strident immigration debate front and centre again. polarised to separate people into two groups with completely opposite opinions Public opinion has polarized on this issue.
strident Forceful They are becoming increasingly strident in their criticism of government economic policy.
front and centre at the forefront of some space The issue of population-control is really getting complicated; we need to put it front and centre as soon as possible.
The context for the emergency is the longest federal government shutdown in U.S. history, for 35 days, that resulted in the shuttering of nine government agencies and the furlough of 800,000 government workers. shuttering Close a business or service They declared bankruptcy and shuttered the store.
The context for the emergency is the longest federal government shutdown in U.S. history, for 35 days, that resulted in the shuttering of nine government agencies and the furlough of 800,000 government workers. furlough to allow or force someone to be absent temporarily from work What reason is there why they are not applicable to the men on leave and furlough?
Mr. Trump frequently alludes to the migration crisis that he believes has engulfed the southern border. alludes Make a more or less disguised reference to Mrs. Simons alluded to some health problems, without being specific.
engulfed  to surround something completely The vehicle was engulfed in flames.
If this is then a purely political move that panders to Mr. Trump’s conservative voter base, it may stand on wobbly legal foundations. panders give satisfaction to Because Jim wants his son to value a dollar, he does not pander to his whims by giving him everything he wants.
If this is then a purely political move that panders to Mr. Trump’s conservative voter base, it may stand on wobbly legal foundations. wobbly Uncertain, wavering, or insecure But even that, I want to show, is based upon some very wobbly figures.
This would put the Republican-controlled Senate on the back foot by requiring it to clarify its position on the status quo, by either supporting or defeating such a resolution. Senate The upper house of the United States Congress The Senate was to consist of the same number of members (not less than six) for each state, the term of service being six years, but subject to an arrangement that half the number would retire every three years.
status quo The existing state of affairs If they continue to make small changes in their business based on the situation in the market, they can maintain the status quo.

 

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