Can Trump declare emergency to build his wall?

15 February, 2019, 07:46 | Author: Norman Carr
  • Lawmakers Reach Shutdown Deal, But Will Trump Sign It?

"I know the Republicans have some unease about it, no matter what they say because the president can declare an emergency on something he has created as an emergency - an illusion that he wants to convey", Pelosi said. Military officials are empowered under multiple statutes, following the declaration of a national emergency, to divert funding and resources "essential to the national defense" including the "use of the armed forces".

United States President Donald Trump will declare a national emergency to fulfill his long-pending demand to build the barricade across the border with Mexico, the White House confirmed on Thursday (local time).

Fortunately, there is a legal mechanism in place, although technically it's never been done before. He will also be issuing a national emergency declaration at the same time.

"Fixing our broken immigration system is the true, long-term solution to border protection, economic security and a humane, compassionate response to people seeking safety and a better life for themselves and their families in America", he said.

The bill faces votes in the Republican-led Senate and Democratic-controlled House of Representatives before going to Mr Trump. It was his most enduring pledge from his successful 2016 campaign for the White House, with his most ardent supporters often shouting, "build the wall!" The legislation would reportedly provide more than $300 billion to fund the Department of Homeland Security and some other U.S. agencies through 30 September, the end of the current fiscal year.

After the White House announced that Trump would declare a national emergency to make up for the lack of funding for his border wall, Pelosi warned that once Democrats take over the White House, they might just resort to the same means to push forward their own partisan agenda.

On Wednesday, Trump said that he did not want to see another partial government shutdown, asserting that it "would be a bad thing" and did not want to see "another one". "It's a humanitarian challenge to us", Pelosi said.




Congressional Democrats were similarly critical on Thursday. The House is scheduled to vote later in the evening.

Earlier this week, Mr Trump had signalled to advisers and allies he was inclined to sign the bipartisan deal to avoid another government shutdown, and would use executive action to attempt securing additional border wall dollars. Asked if she would file a legal challenge to the emergency declaration, she responded, "I may".

However, there were a few last minute add-ons that Democrats managed to get into the legislation, including a $450 million budget to spend on humanitarian services for illegal immigrants. The statement from the two Democratic leaders said that "Congress will defend our constitutional authorities" in the event of a national emergency.

Funding for those agencies is due to expire on Friday, which would trigger another partial federal shutdown on Saturday morning if Congress and Mr Trump do not act quickly.

"A Democratic president can declare emergencies as well", Pelosi said.

"I think most of us fully understand there is no emergency, " he said.

The bipartisan deal brokered by members of both houses of Congress included just $1.375 billion for 55 miles of new border fences - a figure that Fox News host and notorious conservative pundit Sean Hannity ridiculed as minuscule compared to the $5.7 billion Trump had previously demanded to construct 200 miles of wall along the southern border.

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