President Donald Trump declared a national emergency last Friday in order to secure funding for a U.S. border wall without congressional approval.
This comes directly after Congress passed a spending bill that included $1.375 billion for 55 miles of new fencing along the border, significantly less than the $5.7 billion Trump requested.
The signing of this bill narrowly avoided another government shutdown and will keep the government open through Sep. 30.
Trump continued to insist that securing the border is vital during his announcement Friday morning in the White House Rose Garden.
"We’re talking about an invasion of our country with drugs, with human traffickers with all types of criminals and gangs," Trump said.
This declaration is being met with fierce opposition from both Democrats and Republicans and will most likely be challenged in the courts for months.
Trump has repeatedly stated that he would declare a national emergency in order to secure funding for the wall. This has caused many to argue that he has fabricated the border crisis and is instating a national emergency simply to expedite his campaign promise of a border wall before the 2020 election.
"I could do the wall over a longer period of time," Trump said on Friday. "I didn't need to do this, but I'd rather do it much faster."
Trump’s plan intends to pool approximately $8 million for the border wall, including the $1.4 billion allocated toward border security in the new spending bill.
He primarily will take this money from different sectors in the Department of Defense, including $3.6 billion from military construction and $2.5 billion from the military’s counter-narcotics fund. Trump also plans to take $600 million from the Treasury Department drug forfeiture funds, according to White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D- N.Y.) released a joint statement condemning the president’s assertion that the border is a national emergency, calling it an “unlawful declaration over a crisis that does not exist," and that "Congress cannot let the President shred the Constitution."
"The President's actions clearly violate the Congress's exclusive power of the purse, which our Founders enshrined in the Constitution," the two leaders said. "The Congress will defend our constitutional authorities in the Congress, in the Courts, and in the public, using every remedy available."
Other Democrats like Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) have taken to social media to voice criticisms of Trump’s actions.
“Donald Trump may not like it, but we are not an authoritarian country,” Sanders said. “We have a constitution and separation of powers. There is no ‘national emergency,’ and Trump cannot build his wall without congressional approval.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce urged Trump to not declare a national emergency in a statement released by the group’s president, Thomas J. Donohue.
“The U.S. Chamber urges the president not to attempt to declare a national emergency. Instead, we urge the president and members of Congress of both parties to negotiate and find common ground on immigration and border security,” Donohue said. “The declaration of national emergency in this instance will create a dangerous precedent that erodes the very system of government that has served us so well for over 200 years.”
Some Republicans worry that if Trump is successful, future Democratic presidents will announce a national emergency for other partisan issues such as universal health care, climate change and gun reform.
But some Republicans are backing Trump’s decision, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who blames the Democrats.
“President Trump’s decision to announce emergency action is the predictable and understandable consequence of Democrats’ decision to put partisan obstruction ahead of the national interest,” McConnell said. “I urge my Democratic colleagues to quickly get serious, put partisanship aside, and work with the president and our homeland security experts to provide the funding needed to secure our borders as we begin the next round of appropriations.”
Congressional Democrats are not going down without a fight and have 15 days to pass a resolution of disapproval to stop the national emergency in both the House and the Senate.
By SOFIA CARRASCO
Featured photos: Vox, CNBC images.