×

Trump Declares National Emergency Because of ‘Invasion’ at Border

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency to secure funding to build a physical barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border, a move that is certain to provoke a constitutional legal challenge.

In a speech at the Rose Garden at the White House, Trump said, “we are talking about an invasion of our country.” He cited the flow of illegal drug and human traffickers, as well as gangs, at the border. Fact checking organizations have challenged his claims.

He said many other presidents have taken similar steps under less dire circumstances, even as critics say his move could lead to a constitutional showdown over the separation of powers between the presidency and Congress.

His speech was carried across cable news networks and the broadcast networks interrupted their programming to air much of it.

On Thursday, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell announced that Trump would declare an emergency, and it triggered immediate vows from Democratic lawmakers and state attorneys general that they are likely to challenge the move in court. Even some congressional Republicans have expressed their misgivings, saying it would set a precedent for future presidents to bypass Congress.

Trump predicted that the emergency declaration would get tied up in courts, but that he ultimately would prevail.

“We will have a national emergency, and we will then be sued, and they will sue us in the 9th Circuit, even though it shouldn’t be there, and we will possibly get a bad ruling, and then we’ll get another bad ruling, and then we’ll end up in the Supreme Court,” he said. “And hopefully we will get a fair shake and we will win in the Supreme Court.”

Opponents of his decision are likely to also argue that the national emergency isn’t really an emergency at all, as Trump could have made such a declaration earlier in his term. On Friday, he even said he could have secured money to build the wall over a longer period. “I didn’t need to do this. But I would rather do it much faster,” he said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seized on the remark. “He admits it’s a #FakeTrumpEmergency,” she wrote on her political Twitter account. She also said his declaration, “if unchecked, would fundamentally alter the balance of powers, inconsistent with our Founders’ vision.”

Trump appeared to have prepared remarks at the lectern, but he spoke off script for most of his speech and later in answering questions from reporters. There was no Teleprompter set up at the ceremony.

The president’s decision to declare an emergency came after a bipartisan conference committee reached a deal to fund the government through Sept. 30 that included money for border fencing that was well short of what the White House requested. Trump is expected to sign the funding bill, but said he was “not happy” with the nearly $1.4 billion it provides for construction of a physical barrier along the border.

Trump plans to tap about $8 billion for the construction of the physical barrier, which he has described most recently as a metal structure with see-through slats. That figure includes $1.4 billion allocated in the government funding bill, but additional money will come from funds from Defense Department counter-drug activities, the Treasury forfeiture account, and military construction. The emergency declaration was required to move about $3.6 billion from military construction accounts, according to a senior administration official.

The official noted that presidents have declared emergencies 58 times since 1976, and 31 of those emergencies are still in effect.

One of Trump’s central campaign promises was that he would build a wall and get the government of Mexico to pay for it. Mexican leaders have so far rejected that idea.

Among those in the crowd for Trump’s announcement was William Barr, who was sworn in on Thursday as the new attorney general. The Justice Department will be tasked with providing the legal rationale for the emergency declaration.

Also present were about a dozen Angel Moms, holding pictures of relatives who are victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.

PolitiFact reported that Trump’s claims that there was an “invasion” of drugs and gangs at the border “inflates data and leaves out key facts and context.” While illicit drugs are coming through, most comes through ports of entry, such as heroin smuggled in private vehicles. PolitiFact also reported that the Border Patrol has been apprehending far fewer people than they did in the early 2000s. There has been a uptick in the number of families from Central America arriving at the border, but they are often seeking asylum.

More Politics

  • Jennifer Aniston and Tig Notaro Donate

    Jennifer Aniston and Tig Notaro Join Hollywood's Buttigieg Bandwagon

    Pete Buttigieg has built a devoted following in Hollywood over the last few months, helping him lead the Democratic field in fundraising for the second quarter. In a filing released Monday night, Buttigieg disclosed contributions from a bunch of bold-faced names, including Jennifer Aniston, Tig Notaro and Larry David. Buttigieg held numerous fundraisers in the [...]

  • Mary Bailey Steve D'Angelo, Jim Belushi

    Cannabis Industry Tackles Justice Reform With 'Last Prisoner Project'

    Jim Belushi is standing two feet away in the backyard of his spacious Brentwood home, honking a harp like he’s a Blues Brother back in sweet home Chicago accompanied by noted reggae band Rebelution’s Eric Rachmany and Kyle Ahern, who provide a 12-bar shuffle. There’s the sweet smell of skunk — and success — hanging [...]

  • Jeffrey Epstein

    Jeffrey Epstein Bail Decision Delayed, More Accusers Coming Forward

    Jeffrey Epstein won’t find out if he’s going to be released on bail until July 18, even as prosecutors argued that the multimillionaire businessman presents a flight risk and could endanger his accusers unless he remains in jail. At a hearing in Manhattan federal court on Monday, Epstein’s legal team said their client is willing [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    FTC Approves $5 Billion Fine Against Facebook for Privacy Violations

    The Federal Trade Commission voted to fine Facebook around $5 billion for violations of the FTC’s consumer-privacy rules, according to multiple media reports — the biggest privacy-related fine in the commission’s history. The $5 billion figure may be a record-breaker, but it represents less than Facebook reported in net profit ($5.43 billion) for the first [...]

  • United States Secretary of Labor Alexander

    Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta Resigning Amid Epstein Controversy

    Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta has tendered his resignation to President Trump after facing criticism for a plea deal he struck with billionaire Jeffrey Epstein in 2008 after Epstein was charged with luring teenage girls to his mansion for sex. According to the Los Angeles Times, Trump made the announcement Friday, telling reporters that Acosta [...]

  • President Donald Trump listens to a

    Donald Trump's Blocking of Critics on Twitter Again Ruled Unconstitutional

    Donald Trump is violating the U.S. Constitution when he blocks specific users on Twitter, a federal appeals court ruled, upholding a lower court’s decision. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Tuesday ruled that the First Amendment does not allow public officials who use social media in an official capacity to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content