President Donald Trump declared a national emergency today, in an effort to access $3.6 billion to build the border wall, as the New York Times and other media outlets have reported. While this may be the most controversial emergency of Trump’s presidency, but it is hardly the first one.
In fact, U.S. presidents have used the National Emergencies Act a total of 14 times just in the last decade, and all of them remain active. In Trump’s first two years in office, he invoked the power three previous times, making today’s his fourth declaration of a national emergency.
November 27, 2018
Most recently, Trump used the law to issue an executive order blocking property of certain persons contributing to the situation in Nicaragua from being transferred, according to the Federal Register. Trump’s decision targeted Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s regime and its “use of indiscriminate violence and repressive tactics against civilians,” the Pacific Standard noted. He ordered certain sanctions against current and former officials of the Ortega administration engaging in “human rights abuse or corruption.”
September 12, 2018
Two months before, Trump declared another national emergency aimed at imposing sanctions in the event of foreign interference in a United States election, according to the separate report by the Federal Register. The executive order — intended to impose automatic sanctions — gives intelligence agencies 45 days after an election to assess any possible interference.
President Trump Speaks on the National Security & Humanitarian Crisis on Our Southern Border https://t.co/FqdfFORbv5— The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 15, 2019
December 20, 2017
The previous year, Trump declared his first national emergency over the Rohingya conflict in Myanmar. As the Federal Register reported, Trump’s order imposed sanctions on persons involved in serious human rights abuse or corruption, an action aimed specifically against General Maung Maung Soe, who “oversaw the military operation in Burma’s Rakhine State responsible for widespread human rights abuse against Rohingya civilians,” according to BBC News.
Trump’s predecessor, former President Barack Obama, invoked the power a total of 10 times during his eight years in office.
November 22, 2015
During his last days in office, Obama declared a national emergency over the Burundian unrest, imposing sanctions on four Burundi nationals – minister of public security Alain Guillaume Bunyoni, National Police of Burundi deputy director-general Godefroid Bizimana, Godefroid Niyombare, and Cyrille Ndayirukiye, as the New York Times reported at the time.
April 1, 2015
Earlier that year, Obama once again invoked the power to combat cyberattacks and cyberspying, according to the Washington Post. The measure came a few months after U.S. officials blamed North Korea for a cyberattack on Sony Pictures, the report detailed.
March 8, 2015
Less than a month earlier, Obama declared a national security threat and ordered sanctions against seven Venezuelan officials, marking the worst bilateral diplomatic dispute between the U.S. and Nicolas Maduro’s government at the time, Reuters reported then. The White House said at the time that the order targeted people who had committed acts of violence or abuse of human rights in the oil-rich country.
May 12, 2014
The previous year, Obama invoked the power imposing sanctions on former Central African Republic President François Bozize and four other men accused of violence and human rights abuses in the country, the New York Times reported at the time.
April 3, 2014
March 6, 2014
The year before, Obama declared another international emergency, this time to address the situation in the Ukraine. As the Guardian reported at the time, the U.S. and the E.U. imposed sanctions to punish Russia for occupying the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea.
May 16, 2012
Two years prior, Obama invoked the power to counter the unrest in Yemen following the Yemeni Revolution, according to the Federal Register.
July 24, 2011
In 2011, Obama invoked the power to address the rise in crime by specific organizations: Los Zetas (Mexico), The Brothers’ Circle (former Soviet Union countries), the Yakuza (Japan), and the Camorra (Italy), according to the New York Times.
February 25, 2011
Via this executive order, the Obama administration froze the assets of then-Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, as per a New York Times report of the time.
April 12, 2010
Obama’s first use of the National Emergency Act was aimed at helping combat Somali pirates, according to the Federal Register.