President Donald J. Trump declared a national emergency Feb. 15 after Congress denied him the funds needed to build a border wall along the U.S.–Mexico border.
Trump asked for $5.7 billion for the wall but was only granted $1.375 billion by Congress.
Declaring a national emergency allows the president to use $3.6 billion of military funds to construct the wall.
Along with funds diverted from other programs, he has also been authorized $1.375 billion for the fencing. In total, this gives Trump an $8 billion budget to build the wall.
Trump stated that criminals, illegal immigrants and drugs coming through Mexico pose a major threat to the American people and he said the situation requires immediate action.
He admitted in a press conference that a national emergency was not necessary, but it would speed up the process of funding the wall.
Dr. Chase Porter, assistant professor of political science, explained Trump’s reasoning behind calling for a national emergency.
“President Trump felt the need to invoke this emergency declaration because he failed to secure the necessary funding from Congress to fulfill his promise to build the wall, even after his government shutdown gambit,” Porter said. “The declaration is part of a complex legal maneuver that allows the President to shift money from various budget sources and dedicate it to funding the wall.”
Porter went on to say he does not expect the declaration to impact the border wall one way or another.
“I do not expect this declaration to have any consequences in terms of attempting to build the wall, although it may embolden future uses of emergency declarations when the president and Congress are at odds over funding,” Porter said.
Students at CBU shared their own opinions on whether Trump should have called the national emergency and how they feel this will affect the United States.
Liliane Perez, freshman nursing major, said Trump’s decision to call for a national emergency seems presumptuous and is only dividing the nation.
“I don’t think this is going to ultimately solve the issues with which Trump is concerned,” Perez said. “It seems to be causing controversy and making politicians angry.”
Trump is working hard to make his plans go into action. However, Democrats have the numbers to bring up a vote of disapproval every six months until the president withdraws his state of emergency.
Congress also has the power to sieze millions of dollars from miliatary spending. It is clear some politicans are willing to do whatever it takes to stop the wall.
Ali Ann Gillett, freshman nutritional science major, said she is doubtful that Trump will get what he wants.
“Trump declaring the national emergency is only prolonging the wall,” Gillett said. “He cannot take land without approval from Congress and I don’t think he will get the approval he seeks.”
After hearing news of the national emergency, 16 states filed a federal lawsuit against Trump.
The complaint, led by California, seeks to stop the order and charges Trump of abusing the separation of powers.
While Trump has the ability to call for a national emergency, the argument is that declaring it was not necessary.
After Congress returns from recess, the next step is for them to evaluate a potential joint resolution against Trump’s declaration. Despite the number of states opposing the national emergency, most likely it is not enough to overcome a presidential veto.