President Trump on Friday declared a national emergency to secure funding for construction of a barrier along the southern border. The announcement sparked outrage from Democrats and praise from Republicans. Speaking in the Rose Garden before a crowd of reporters, Trump said, “We’re going to be signing today, and registering, a national emergency, and it’s a great thing to do.”
During his remarks Trump asked several “Angel Moms” to stand and show photos of loved ones killed by undocumented immigrants.
The move comes a day after lawmakers finalized a deal to fund the entire government and avert another shutdown. The deal, agreed to by both Republican and Democratic lawmakers, includes over $1 Billion Dollars for barrier construction along the southern border. Congress on Thursday passed legislation codifying the deal, as well as funding for the rest of the federal government. Previous negotiations between the White House and Congress broke down, resulting in a 35 day shutdown, the longest in US history. Conservatives ridiculed the president for caving to demands of Democratic members of Congress in those negotiations.
President Trump on Friday signed the funding bill into law. He then called a national emergency to secure even more funding for border security. The President also continues to make the claim that the border wall is already under construction.
Trump’s declaration, which was widely expected to occur, gives the president more authority over funding related to border security. National emergencies were first authorized by Congress in the late 1970’s under the National Emergencies Act. Since then, some 59 national emergencies have been declared. A national emergency will expire after one year unless its renewed. Congress has the power to overturn a national emergency, although this rarely ever happens.
According to the Brennan Center for Justice, “Both the President and Congress are free to declare a national emergency whenever they wish; there are no limits on what type of event qualifies.”
16 States Sue & Democrats Respond
Democrats on Capitol Hill responded swiftly with sharp criticism of the declaration. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer released a joint statement saying, “The President’s unlawful declaration over a crisis that does not exist does great violence to our Constitution and makes America less safe, stealing from urgently needed defense funds for the security of our military and our nation.” Both alluded to congressional action in their response.
California Governor Gavin Newsom also quickly responded to the emergency declaration, as did 15 other states. At a press called to discuss the declaration Newsom said, “Donald Trump, we’ll see you in court.” State Attorney General Xavier Bacerra joined Governor Newsom in criticizing the declaration. “President Trump got one thing right this morning about his declaration when he said “I didn’t have to do this.” He’s right. He didn’t have to do this. In fact, he can’t do this.”
Both Newsom and Bacerra later made good on their threat. On Monday California along with 15 other states sued the Trump Administration over the declaration. The lawsuit alleges the emergency declaration is unconstitutional. The states of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Virginia all joined in the lawsuit.
California has sued the Trump administration at least 38 times since the 2016 election.