Apparently frustrated by the continuing refusal of Congress to allocate funding for the “border wall” that he promised on the 2016 campaign trail, Donald Trump took to his Twitter account on Tuesday morning threatening to build “a Human Wall if necessary,” the New York Post reported.
Trump has previously threatened to declare a “national emergency” that would, in theory, allow him to order the United States military to construct a border wall, but according to a New York Times report on Tuesday, even congressional Republicans have proven reluctant to support a national emergency declaration by Trump, leaving him much less likely to exercise that option.
The Pentagon announced on Monday, according to an NPR report, that an additional 3,750 troops would be sent to the southern border, which seemed to be what Trump was referring to in his “Human Wall” Twitter post.
“Tremendous numbers of people are coming up through Mexico in the hopes of flooding our Southern Border. We have sent additional military,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “We will build a Human Wall if necessary. If we had a real Wall, this would be a non-event!”
Trump’s “Human Wall” declaration drew quick ridicule from other Twitter users, however.
We will build a human wall if necessary! pic.twitter.com/PgxsOkaTzd
— Schooley (@Rschooley) February 5, 2019
MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell called Trump’s plan “imaginary,” while Talking Points Memo editor Josh Marshall compared it to a 1973 science fiction movie in which people are processed into food to solve a worldwide hunger crisis.
From a WALL to a FENCE to a BARRIER to a HUMAN WALL to … an imaginary wall. https://t.co/WOalLbJeF0
— Lawrence O'Donnell (@Lawrence) February 5, 2019
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) February 5, 2019
if trump wants a human wall, i volunteer eric, ivanka, and don jr
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) February 5, 2019
— Dan Wheatley (@DanWheatley4) February 5, 2019
By threatening a “Human Wall,” Trump appeared to be claiming that U.S. troops would be used to stop immigrants from crossing the border between Mexico and the United States — but as the Military Times explained, troops are prohibited by law from “engaging in law enforcement on U.S. soil.”
Troops are legally limited to providing support for existing Border Patrol activities and to engaging in construction projects such as building walls. But “the troops will not be allowed to detain immigrants, seize drugs from smugglers or have any direct involvement in stopping a migrant caravan,” according to the Military Times.
The human wall has been formed. ???????? pic.twitter.com/YGXhfvpniE
— James Bagg Jr. (@JamesBaggJr) February 5, 2019
Human wall? Anyone else picture this? pic.twitter.com/vMK506MuW5
— Alberto Vela. (@AlberttVe) February 5, 2019
In addition, statistics from the Trump administration’s own Department of Homeland Security would appear to dispute Trump’s claim of “tremendous numbers” of people illegally crossing the border, necessitating a declaration of national emergency. While apprehensions at the border increased somewhat — by 11 percent — between fiscal year 2018 and fiscal year 2017, according to a Forbes analysis, the 2017 levels had fallen nearly 80 percent since 2000, and except for the modest uptick in 2018 have shown a downward trend over the last two decades.