Trump Declared a National Emergency to Fund Border Wall
Recently, President Donald Trump’s border wall has made headlines repeatedly. First, it was due to the president’s demands for border wall funding and his threats to force a government shutdown. Next, it was because of the historic shutdown and its disastrous effects for the country, American citizens, and immigrants. Now, it is because the president, finding himself without adequate border wall funding despite his aggressive tactics, declared a national emergency.
The president has long searched for full funding for his border wall. But with estimates in the billions coupled with no true knowledge of its feasibility, even the president’s political allies have been hesitant to provide fiscal support. Further complicating this process is the unpopularity of the wall with many Americans. And, without a doubt, the wall will be destructive, disturbing habitats and wasting money that could benefit people in need.
This article reviews recent news surrounding the border wall and this controversial move by President Trump. We also will review rising resistance from some states, including California and New York, which are suing the government in an attempt to stop the border wall’s construction.
New Deal Denied President Border Wall Funding
After reopening the government in early February, a bipartisan committee set to work. Their goal – achieve balance between Republicans and Democrats and forge a new fiscal path forward. While the committee worked and deliberated, the president continued to demand $5.7 billion in funding for his border wall.
In mid-February, the bicameral,* bipartisan** committee finalized a deal that secured funding and provided $1.4 billion for “physical barriers” at the border, but no formal funding for a wall. Obviously, the funding provided fell far below what the president had attempted to coerce out of his Congressional peers.
Despite threats to stall the deal, on February 14 the president agreed to sign it, funding the federal government and avoiding another catastrophic shutdown. Yet, he also announced his immediate intent to declare a national emergency at the border. This action allows him to divert military funds for his wall.
The president’s press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced that the president would both sign the bill and “ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border.”
*Bicameral means “two houses” or “two chambers,” so politicians from both the House and the Senate were present in the committee.
**Bipartisan means “two parties,” so politicians from both the Republican and Democratic parties were present in the committee.
On February 15, President Trump officially declared a national emergency at the US-Mexico border. Not only is this aggressive move unprecedented, it challenges the separation of powers so important to the democracy of the United States.
The president justified his actions by stating that there is an “invasion of drugs and criminals” streaming through the US-Mexico border. Yet, when data are scrutinized, it becomes obvious that the president’s paltry justifications will not stand against tough challengers.
Presidential emergency powers stem from the National Emergencies Act of 1976. Such emergency powers have been enacted roughly five-dozen times since that year, yet Trump’s move is unprecedented. According to The New York Times, no president has ever used emergency powers to “make an end-run around Congress after it rejected funding for a particular policy.”
This is concerning for several reasons, including the fact that such a move shatters a delicate system rooted in balance of power.
States Fight Back
As of February 18, an alliance of 16 states filed a lawsuit against President Trump. The states filed in the Federal District Court in San Francisco. This group, including heavy-hitters like California and New York, argues that the president’s actions and his national emergency are unconstitutional. According to the U.S. Constitution, Congress and only Congress has the “power of the purse.”
The states claim they are going to court to “protect their residents, natural resources and economic interests” from the president’s “manufactured crisis.”
Other lawsuits have been filed by interest groups like Public Citizen, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Center for Biological Diversity. Additional challenges are also expected from groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
To learn more about the states’ lawsuit, as well as a list of all states involved, read our source article from The New York Times.
Congress May Override
One week after Trump declared his national emergency, Nancy Pelosi scheduled a vote in the House to override it. Set for Tuesday, February 26, the House will vote on legislation that would override Trump’s declaration. Once past the House, the measure would need to pass the Senate.
Unfortunately, any such action passed by Congress would surely be vetoed by the president. And the measure is unlikely to garner the support to overcome a presidential veto. (Two-thirds majority is required to beat a veto.) Nonetheless, Democratic leaders are poised and ready for a fight. Trump’s opponents appear ready and determined to defend the given powers of Congress and uphold Constitutional balance.
Regarding this initiative, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer stated that “if the president’s emergency declaration prevails, it will fundamentally change the balance of powers in a way our country’s founders never envisioned.” Further, Schumer continued that Congressional leaders should act in a bipartisan manner to rein in and “limit an overreaching executive.”
While the future of Trump’s national emergency and the border wall are still uncertain, it is clear that many people will valiantly fight this xenophobic action. Davis & Associates remains updated regarding this developing situation and will post significant updates if and when they are available.
Questions or Concerns? Talk to an Expert Immigration Attorney.
The current state of American politics can unnerve and worry immigrants. It’s normal during such an unusual and xenophobic time to feel slightly on edge. Remember – you have rights, no matter your situation. If you have any questions about immigration, the best route is to talk to an experienced immigration lawyer. They’ll be able to explain your options, as well as provide accurate possibilities for each potential outcome. Just remember, never work with “notarios” or “visa consultants.” They may offer legal assistance, but they do not possess the proper training to provide the guidance you need.
Davis & Associates proudly provides top-tier legal representation to clients in Dallas & Fort Worth. Our dedicated attorneys stay updated on the news as well as any government reforms or laws. They work so you can relax during your immigration proceedings. We are here and we’re ready to help – contact us today! You can sit down with one of our lawyers during a free consultation. They’ll explain your options, answer your questions, and you’ll leave with a path forward.