President Donald Trump announced today from the Rose Garden of the White House he is declaring a national emergency, which will free up funds to extend the US security wall along the border with Mexico.
During his announcement, the president said we fight wars overseas, but we don't control our own border. He listed the reasons he considers the southern border as a national security threat saying, "We're talking about an invasion of our country with drugs, with human traffickers, with all types of criminals and gangs."
In a poignant moment, the president asked several Angel Moms to stand and show the pictures of their children who had been killed by violent criminals who were in the US illegally. The Angel Moms in attendance included: Marla Wolff, Maureen Maloney Sabine Durden, Susan Stevens, Angelina Vargas, and Agnes Gibboney.
And he rejected arguments against a border wall made by members of the news media who said drugs all come through ports of entry, calling that a lie. He also said it's a lie to say that walls don't work, citing examples of successful border walls in El Paso, Texas and in Israel, saying, "Walls work a hundred percent."
The president's new plan would lock down $8 billion for a border wall. The White House says Trump plans to tap accounts in the Treasury and Defense Departments.
The American Center for Law and Justice is supporting the president's effort citing statistics to back up his concerns about crime, stating that he has the legal authority to declare the emergency as president.
President Trump’s Declaration of National Emergency to Secure Southern Border by Building a Wall is Supported by Both Constitutional and Statutory Authority https://t.co/ZxRoKDt297
— Jordan Sekulow (@JordanSekulow) February 15, 2019
"In the event of a national emergency like the one our country is currently facing on the border, the President may exercise certain constitutionally implied and/or statutorily granted emergency powers," the ACLJ states.
Pointing to the National Emergencies Act, the ACLJ continues, "Importantly, the Act contains no formal definition of what constitutes a national emergency. Instead, the Act appears to recognize the President's constitutional discretion to make such a determination."
Democrats might have thought they had blocked the president's drive to finally build a wall on the Mexican border, but the president had different plans.
After announcing Thursday that Trump would sign a border security compromise that gave him only $1.4 billion for a wall, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell added a surprise announcement that the president would also be issuing a national emergency declaration at the same time.
Democrats call it a "lawless act" and a "gross abuse of power," and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi answered with a veiled threat that such a precedent could come back to haunt conservatives.
"I'm going to be signing a National Emergency, and it's been signed many times before. It's been signed by other presidents from 1977 or so. It gave the presidents the power. There's rarely been a problem. They sign it; nobody cares. I guess they weren't very exciting. But nobody cares; they sign it for far less important things in some cases, in many cases," Trump said.
The president said he plans to reuse a portion of a previous declaration used by President Obama in the fight against cartels as part of his emergency border declaration.
Trump said it's now up to the courts to determine the constitutionality of the national emergency, and he added that he expects to be sued. But he said he believes his team will be "very successful in court."