It was announced on Friday that US President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency in order to funnel additional billions into his US-Mexico border wall. "I'm going to be signing a national emergency, and it's been signed many times before," Trump said, according to CNN. Trump's national emergency is in response to security issues at the border, which he has referred to as an "invasion" of "drugs", "human traffickers", and "all types of criminals and gangs" into the United States.
Trump has referred to the issue as a "national security crisis" and is clearly prepared to do whatever it takes to have the wall completed, despite the pushback. So far, Trump has managed to secure only $1.375 billion of the $5.7 he says is required to complete the project. However, other reports claim that the border barrier will require nearly $8 billion in national spending.
Declaring a national emergency will allow Trump to redirect federal funds into the construction of the barrier wall. The additional billions would allow Trump to build hundreds of miles of the wall, CNN reports. Trump will be taking funding allotted to the US military and other military construction.
White House Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney has said that declaring a national emergency is "authority given to the president in the law already. It's not as if he just didn't get what he wanted so he's waving a magic wand and taking a bunch of money."
President Trump Speaks on the National Security & Humanitarian Crisis on Our Southern Border https://t.co/FqdfFORbv5— The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 15, 2019
However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says that doing so is a "gross abuse of power". "[President Trump] couldn’t convince Mexico, the American people or their elected representatives to pay for his ineffective and expensive wall, so now he’s trying an end-run around Congress in a desperate attempt to put taxpayers on the hook for it," Pelosi wrote on Twitter Thursday.
.@realDonaldTrump’s unlawful declaration over a crisis that does not exist does great violence to our Constitution and makes America less safe, stealing from urgently needed defense funds for the security of our military and our nation.— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) February 15, 2019
Today's news comes shortly after President Trump's partial US government shutdown, which became the longest shutdown in the country's history. The shutdown left thousands of US federal employees without a paycheque for weeks on end. One of the consequences was a shortage of TSA staff, resulting in massive flight delays and cancellations out of Toronto to busy American airports.