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Trump to declare national emergency to fund southern border wall

President Donald Trump signing a bill on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018, in the EEOB building in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
February 14, 2019

President Donald Trump intends to declare a national emergency in order to secure funding for a southern border wall, this as he also plans to sign a funding bill that will keep the government open ahead of a Friday deadline – but that would not provide the $5.7 billion he has steadfastly requested for border security.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the President intends to sign the funding bill and at the same time issue an emergency declaration – a move that bypasses Congressional approval – in order to fully fund the southern border wall, the New York Times reported.

According to NBC reporter Frank Thorp, McConnell said, “I’ve just had an opportunity to speak to President [T]rump and he, I would say to all my colleagues, he has indicated that he’s prepared to sign the bill. He will be also be issuing a national emergency declaration at the same time.”

Lawmakers this week tentatively came to a compromise on border security funding that averts a second government shutdown this year, although it did not contain President Trump’s requested $5.7 billion for a border wall.

The “agreement in principle” contains $1.375 billion for 55 miles of border fencing, senior lawmakers said Monday night. Trump has asked for a border wall, or steel slats rather than fencing, for more than 200 miles along the border.

The agreement also includes funding for 40,520 detention beds for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which was less than what Democrats originally requested.

The move was seen as a bipartisan compromise, but Trump declared he was “extremely unhappy” with the proposal.

Trump has held firm on his request for nearly $6 billion for border security. The government was partially shut down for 36 days – the longest stint in history – late last year into January of this year, until Trump signed a temporary 3-week funding measure that expires tomorrow, Feb. 15.

Talks up until this week made it seem as if the country would be headed for another government shutdown, given the lack of concession and cooperation in Congress.

Trump has said he would declare a national emergency to build the border wall if Congress doesn’t provide the funds for it. He has also said the U.S. “will build a Human Wall if necessary” at the southern border with Mexico.

He had tweeted, “Tremendous numbers of people are coming up through Mexico in the hopes of flooding our Southern Border. We have sent additional military. We will build a Human Wall if necessary. If we had a real Wall, this would be a non-event!”

The Pentagon announced earlier this month that an additional 3,750 U.S. troops would be deployed to the southern border to assist Customs and Border Protection and help lay wire fencing.

Trump recently re-opened the federal government after he and Congressional Democrats could not come to an agreement over border wall funding.

Trump wants nearly $6 billion for border security that would include a wall, or steel slats, as he has pointed out.

Democrats have in the past refused to pass any appropriations bill that would include funding for a border wall.

Before he reopened the government, Trump had proposed a compromise that included allowing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and temporary protected status (TPS) programs for some immigrants to temporarily continue, in exchange for the nearly $6 billion he wants for border security.

The proposal included $5.7 billion for strategic deployment of physical barriers, or steel slats, along key points of the U.S. borer with Mexico; $800 million in “urgent humanitarian assistance;” $805 million for drug detection technology; an additional 2,750 border agents and law enforcement officials; and 75 new immigration judge teams in order to reduce the court backlog of nearly 900,000 immigration cases, Trump had said.