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Trump Declares Emergency, Makes His Case

President will direct $8B to build or repair border barrier
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2019 10:10 AM CST
President Trump speaks in the Rose Garden at the White House Friday.   (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

(Newser)

No last-minute surprises: President Trump said in the Rose Garden on Friday that he was declaring a national emergency over the southern border. Trump is going around Congress to direct about $8 billion toward the building or repair of more than 230 miles of a barrier along the US-Mexico border, reports Politico. The controversial decision is expected to draw immediate legal challenges. It comes after Congress passed a spending bill that provided $1.4 billion for new border fences, well below the $5.7 billion sought by Trump. “I’m going to be signing a national emergency,” Trump said. “We’re talking about an invasion of our country with drugs, with human traffickers, with all types of criminals and gangs.”

With the move, the president will secure nearly $7 billion in additional funds for the barrier, said chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, per the Washington Post. Trump will divert $3.7 billion from military construction projects, $2.5 billion from counternarcotics programs, and $600 million from a federal asset-forfeiture fund, reports the New York Times. Democratic leaders have called the move a "lawless act" that will set a dangerous precedent, but Mulvaney disagreed. “It actually creates zero precedent,” he said. “This is authority given to the president under law already.” In the Rose Garden, Trump said he expected legal challenges. “Hopefully we’ll get a fair shake” in the Supreme Court, he said. “We’re declaring it for virtual invasion purposes.” (Read more national emergency stories.)

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