The White House is preparing an emergency declaration that President Trump could issue as a way to circumvent Congress if lawmakers do not provide funding for a wall along the US southern border.
The draft proclamation was updated as early as last week, a US government official said
The report comes as a bi-partisan group of lawmakers introduced an amendment in the Senate that would temporarily open the US government, which has been partially shut for a record 34 days over President Trump’s demand for Wall funding at the US southern border..
“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,” a draft of a Presidential proclamation 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 draft adds.
According to options being considered, The Trump Administration could pull: $681-M from treasury forfeiture funds, $3.6-B in military construction, $3-B in Pentagon civil works funds, and $200-M in Department of Homeland Security funds, a White House official said.
The US Army Corps of Engineers would be deployed to construct the Wall of the declaration is made. Some of the Wall could be built on private property and would therefore require The Trump Administration to seize the land, via eminent domain which is permitted if it is for public use.
The Trump Administration is prepared for lawsuits if they move forward with acquiring private property.
The documents also reflect a sense of urgency with Administration plans, noting that environmental reviews can be skipped and DHS can use waivers to bypass contracting laws.
Any declaration likely will be challenged in court and by Democrats in Congress, as critics have argued that President Trump cannot use the national emergency authority to free up taxpayer funds and build the border Wall he has promised American voters.
Such a challenge will not stand up against the President’s authority in this national security issue.