President Trump Declares National Emergency
By Heather Ham-Warren | February 15, 2019
On Friday, after much speculation, President Trump declared a state of emergency at the southern border, utilizing his executive powers to redirect billions of dollars towards the construction of a border wall.
Earlier in the week, Congress passed FAIR-opposed legislation to ward off another federal government shutdown. However, the legislation only contained $1.375 billion for approximately 55 miles of border barriers in the Rio Grande Valley. The bill also contained a stealth amnesty provision for all those near Unaccompanied Alien Children (UACs), as well as an H-2B guest worker increase. Because the barrier allocation was significantly lower than the amount requested by the White House over the past two years, there was speculation that President Trump might actually veto the legislation. “Instead, the president took to the Rose Garden Friday morning and announced he would sign the legislation and also declare a national emergency.”
According to the White House, up to $8.1 billion will become available to build the border wall including: $601 million from the Treasury Forfeiture Fund, up to $2.5 billion under the Department of Defense funds transferred for Support for Counterdrug Activities, up to $3.6 billion reallocation from the Department of Defense military construction projects, and the $1.375 billion from the congressional spending package.
Ahead of the announcement Sarah Sanders stated, “President Trump will sign the government funding bill, and as he has stated before, he will also take other executive action— including a national emergency— to ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border. The President is once again delivering on his promise to build the wall, protect the border, and secure our great country.”
Although the declaration received criticism from congressional Democrats—even before the official announcement— since 1976, American presidents have declared nearly 60 national emergencies. Nonetheless, the decision will undoubtedly face swift legal challenges that could stall progress in the near future.