President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency to address “the problem of large-scale unlawful migration through the southern border,” a move that enables him to fund a border wall, and one that may face a sharp response from Democrats.
“The current situation at the southern border presents a border security and humanitarian crisis that threatens core national security interests and constitutes a national emergency,” said the Presidential Proclamation on Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Southern Border of the United States.
President Trump details the “long-standing” and worsened problem in southern border security, which involves in “criminals, gang members, and illicit narcotics.”
The declaration reads: “NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including sections 201 and 301 of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), hereby declare that a national emergency exists at the southern border of the United States, and that section 12302 of title 10, United States Code, is invoked and made available, according to its terms, to the Secretaries of the military departments concerned, subject to the direction of the Secretary of Defense in the case of the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force.”
“To provide additional authority to the Department of Defense to support the Federal Government’s response to the emergency at the southern border, I hereby declare that this emergency requires use of the Armed Forces and, in accordance with section 301 of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1631), that the construction authority provided in section 2808 of title 10, United States Code, is invoked and made available, according to its terms, to the Secretary of Defense and, at the discretion of the Secretary of Defense, to the Secretaries of the military departments.”
In the statement, President Trump gives directions to relevant secretaries for addressing the border crisis, emphasizing, “This proclamation is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.”
Declaration of a national emergency enables the president to use executive powers to divert billions toward border wall construction.
Democrats vowed to challenge the president’s declaration as a violation of the U.S. Constitution. “The Congress will defend our constitutional authorities in the Congress, in the courts, and in the public, using every remedy available,” House speaker Nancy Pelosi and top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer said in a statement, according to Reuters.
President Trump has been asking Congress provide him with $5.7 billion for building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to address the issue of illegal immigration and crimes.
Democractic and Rebublican negotiatiors in Congress on Monday reached a deal for far less money for the border wall, nearly $1.4 billion.
“This is a moral issue. The lawless state of our southern border is a threat to the safety, security, and financial wellbeing of all America,” the president said in his 2019 State of the Union address.
“Wealthy politicians and donors push for open borders while living their lives behind walls, gates and guards. Meanwhile, working-class Americans are left to pay the price for mass illegal migration: reduced jobs, lower wages, overburdened schools, hospitals that are so crowded you can’t get in, increased crime, and a depleted social safety net.”
Border walls, fences, and barriers have a long tradition in the world with precedents in dozens of countries, as detailed by historian David Frye, author of the book “Walls: A History of Civilization in Blood and Brick.”
Modern walls or barriers have proven effective in drastically reducing illegal immigration, cross-border fighting, and crime, writes Michael Rubin, former Pentagon official, in the Washington Examiner.