US President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency to bypass Congress and spend roughly $8 billion on barriers along the border with Mexico.
“I am going to be signing a national emergency,” Trump said in an address from the Rose Garden.
“It’s a great thing to do because we have an invasion of drugs, invasion of gangs, invasion of people,” the president said in seeking to justify the need for an emergency declaration.
Trump acknowledged the move will likely be challenged in federal court, but said he would eventually prevail.
“I could do the wall over a long period of time. I didn’t need to do this, but I’d rather do it much faster,” said the president.
On Thursday, the White House said Trump would sign a border security and federal spending bill to avert another government shutdown but also will declare a national emergency to try to obtain funds for his promised US-Mexico border wall.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), the top two Democrats in Congress, said on Friday they would use “every available remedy” to overturn the emergency declaration.
“The president’s unlawful declaration over a crisis that does not exist does great violence to our Constitution and makes America less safe,” they said in a joint statement quoted by The Hill. “The president is not above the law. The Congress cannot let the president shred the Constitution.”
The legislation approved by Congress fell far short of Trump’s demands for $5.7 billion in wall funding, with Trump saying he tried his best to work with lawmakers to secure additional border security but “on the wall, they skimped.”
Trump plans to redirect $3.6 billion in military construction funding toward the border project, according to White House officials. Trump will also take separate executive action repurposing about $2.5 billion from the Defense Department’s drug-interdiction program and $600 million from the Treasury Department’s asset-forfeiture fund.
Officials said the goal is to ultimately build roughly 234 miles of barriers along the border, including bollard-style wall.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)