President Donald Trump Declares a National Emergency

On the afternoon of Feb. 15, President Trump signed a $333 billion compromise funding bill dismissing another partial government shutdown. His approval of this bill ensures Americans that there will not be another government shutdown at least until the fall of 2019.

Trump's signature came from mainly his intention of preventing another government shutdown. The most recent government shutdown, fueled largely by the border dispute, denied paychecks to 800,000 federal workers, hurt contractors and people reliant on government services and caused an uproar in the public.

Within the bill that Trump signed Friday afternoon, was a $1.4 billion-dollar deal intended to compromise for his wall proposal. Trump’s vision of the wall has since scaled down after his campaign, at first, he stated that we would have a large cement wall blocking the United States from Mexico that is approximately 1,900 miles long this wall would also be paid for by Mexico. Now, his intended plan for American security is a large steel slat expanding about half of the 1,900 miles and the other half relies on natural barriers to prevent illegal immigration, which is estimated to cost about $5.7 billion. Though Trump signed the bill only giving him about one-fourth of the funding he was asking for towards the wall, he made sure to show Congress his seriousness. 

Following his signature of the bill, President Trump declared a national emergency on the United States in a move to get Congress to fund the wall at the southern border. In statement defining the national emergency, President Trump declared it was to address “an invasion of our country with drugs, human traffickers, with all types of criminals and gangs.” In his declaration speech, he also states issues like trading with China and the national debt playing an important role in his decision. His decision was met with a roar of backlash and multiple lawsuits. 

Immediately following Trump's declaration of a national emergency, The American Civil Liberties Union said it plans to file a lawsuit challenging the emergency declaration arguing against his demand to fund the border wall. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra also has said he is planning to work with other “sister states” to take legal action against President Trump and his decision. 

In a statement to reporters during his press conference, President Trump explained “I could do the wall over a longer period of time. I didn’t need to do this. But I’d rather do it much faster.” Though there is much uproar about the seriousness of the national emergency that Trump called for on Friday, The National Emergencies Act gives a president wide authority to define what an emergency is, not mentioning explicit rules how urgent or potentially damaging a problem is. This law, written in 1976, was passed to give presidents flexibility. 

However, this law can and will be taken to court to be settled by Congress because of the recent lawsuits to the President and his decision to declare a national emergency over the funding of the wall.