Feb. 15 (UPI) — President Donald Trump called a national emergency Friday to fund the southern border wall, and said he’d sign a bill to avert another partial government shutdown.
The executive action allows Trump to bypass Congress for billions of dollars to fill in the gaps on the southern border.”We’re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border,” Trump said in a Rose Garden speech at the White House.
“We’re talking about an invasion of our country with drugs, human traffickers, with all kinds of criminals and gangs. We need new wall.”
The national emergency will likely be met with legal challenges that could tie up the issue in court. Congressional Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have promised to fight the president’s move.
Trump acknowledged that he will be sued and will likely get a “bad ruling” at the lower courts before the national emergency is victorious at the Supreme Court.
“The courts will determine that. I expect to be sued. I shouldn’t be sued,” Trump said.
He added that presidents have had the power to issue executive orders since 1977 for “far less important things.”
“There’s rarely been a problem. They sign it,” Trump said.
He also denied reports that the majority of drugs are smuggled through official ports of entry.
“They go through areas where you have no wall,” Trump said. “Everybody knows it. [Speaker] Nancy [Pelosi] knows it. [Senate minority leader] Chuck [Schumer] knows it.
Trump also credited the U.S. military for securing some areas of the border with concertina wire. They helped break up two caravans.
Both houses have so far refused to earmark billions in funding for the wall, instead passing a spending bill to re-open the government with enough to pay for just 55 miles of a wall. The bipartisan spending bill passed both houses of Congress and awaits Trump’s signature.
The president said he’d sign the spending bill passed by Congress and avoid a shutdown. Government funding runs out at midnight Friday.
The government closed for 35 days from December to January due to the border stalemate. It ended Jan. 25 when Trump agreed to a deal.
Trump will combine the money Congress already approved for the wall with other funds he will divert using presidential discretion. The emergency also allows him to access other funds for a total of about $8 billion, including money from the Treasury Department’s drug forfeiture and interdiction program and the Defense Department’s military construction budget.
Trump invited several so-called “Angel” parents, who have lost loved ones to crimes committed by illegal aliens.
“They’re fighting for their children who have been killed by people who entered the country illegally,” he said.