President Donald Trump on Feb. 15 announced a state of emergency to obtain $8 billion for a border wall between the US and Mexico. A significant amount of the funds are expected to come from the Department of Defense budget, but Trump was not clear regarding funding or spending plans. The declaration was announced in a statement to the press that included information about trade negotiations with China and various other unrelated concerns. Trump gave this speech moments after he signed a spending bill passed by Congress, which prevents another government shutdown. The bill included about $1.4 billion in funding to assist with border security, which is far lower than the $5.7 billion demanded by Trump for his wall during the government shutdown.
This announcement was not unexpected. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders notified the public of Trump's intention via a tweet the previous day, saying that he would be taking "executive action…to ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border."
The use of the president's emergency power in the context of border control is raising questions and concerns. Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi warned of the dangerous precedent being set by the president, noting that a "Democratic president can declare emergencies as well. So, the precedent that the president is setting here is something that should be met with great unease and dismay by the Republicans."
Legal challenges are expected to be filed soon regarding the reach of national emergency powers under a 1975 law that has been invoked 58 times..
From Jurist, Feb. 15. Used with permission.
Note: The "compromise" budget deal that Trump signed actually includes $1.375 billion for new "fencing" along the border.
Photo via Jurist