By: Julia Lees
On February 15, 2019, President Trump declared a national emergency at the southern border of the United States. President Trump has been adamant about border control from the beginning of his campaign. When a president declares a national emergency it gives him access to more powers that would not otherwise be available. The president has the power to declare a national emergency without permission from other branches.
President Trump’s goal with the national emergency is to use these new powers to access money not allocated to border security by Congress in order to build a wall at the Mexican border. After the 35 day government shutdown was spent trying to negotiate a budget for the wall, Trump utilized this presidential power to surpass Congress. When speaking on his reasoning for the national emergency he said, “We are talking about an invasion of our country, with drugs, with human traffickers, with all types of criminals and gangs.” He asserts that these problems at the border have created an immigration crisis that has gotten to a point where the utilization of a national emergency is valid.
There has been significant and immediate backlash to Trump’s declaration. Many state representatives, on both sides of the aisle, have called into question the constitutionality of this declaration. Many see this action as a way to get around Congress’ constitutional power to pass the annual budget. Additional controversy was incited when Trump said, “I didn’t need to do this, but I’d rather do it much faster” in reference to his national emergency and the border wall. His own statement seems to imply that the national emergency was not an urgent emergency, but rather a way to accelerate his plans. The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, has called upon Democrats as well as Republicans to pass a resolution in order to stop the national emergency. Democrats and Republicans alike are against declaring a national emergency because they believe it sets a precedent for future presidents to abuse this power. In addition to this, many states have filed lawsuits questioning the constitutionality of Trump’s decision. As of February 18th, 16 states have filed. When asked if he expected to be challenged in court he said, “I expect to be sued.” He says that he is ready to battle out the decision in the Supreme Court.
“Full Video: Trump Declares National Emergency.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 15 Feb. 2019, http://www.nytimes.com/video/us/politics/100000006362205/watch-live-trump-makes-announcement-at-white-house.html.