CNN reports that the White House is currently in the process of drafting a proclamation that will enable Donald Trump to declare a national emergency in order to fund the construction of a wall along the U.S.- Mexico border. According to the report, the White House has also identified $7 billion in funds for his signature campaign promise.
According to a draft of the document obtained by CNN, the presidential proclamation cites the number of people entering the country as the reason for the national emergency.
“The massive amount of aliens who unlawfully enter the United States each day is a direct threat to the safety and security of our nation and constitutes a national emergency,” it 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 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.”
The proclamation would allow the president to take $681 million from Treasury forfeiture funds, $3.6 billion in military funds set aside for construction, $3 billion in Pentagon civil works money, and $200 million in funding from the Department of Homeland Security funds.
Trump has long reserved the right to use a national emergency to push through funding for his wall despite a gridlocked Congress. Today marks the 34th day of the shutdown over the issue of funding for the border wall. Trump has requested over $5 billion for the fencing.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 18, 2019
“A lot of people who wants this to happen. The military wants this to happen. This is a virtual invasion of our country,” Trump said.
If Trump does opt to declare a national emergency, many expect Democrats to challenge the proclamation in court. The 1976 National Emergencies Act allows a president to declare a national emergency without specifically defining what the emergency is. But legal experts argue that a president cannot use the act to free up taxpayer money to build a wall that Congress has not approved. This means that construction would be delayed, but it would likely lead to a reopening of the government.
The Washington Post reported that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has cautioned the president against using the national emergency declaration. He believes that Democrats are shifting and that a deal can still be reached that will allow the president to save face and reopen the government while still obtaining some funding for the border.