Gabby Carlson | The Echo
In a televised conference on Friday, President Donald Trump called a state of emergency on our southern border. Within the day, the president had lawsuits filed against him.
In the last two months, Trump asked Congress for 5.7 billion dollars to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, like he promised he would in his campaign. However, this request caused a government shutdown, the longest in American history, and eventually led to the refusal of the funds for the project.
Jakob Miller, professor of political science, believes the president has the authority to declare a national emergency, but having the authority to build a wall is in question.
"The President is claiming that section 2808, which concerns military construction, fits that bill," Miller said. "Most legal scholars seem to take the opposite view. We'll likely see more resistance than normal from Congress, and maybe from the Court, so this is likely to draw public attention."
The New York Times reported that the state of emergency is on the basis of drugs and immigrants entering our country illegally. This measure will free up about $8 billion of funds for the president to use for the wall.
These funds primarily came from the Department of Defense's military construction projects. These will either be canceled or unobligated money will be used. The sum total from this budget is estimated at 3.6 billion dollars.
The president will also potentially have access to $2.5 billion devoted to counternarcotics programs and about 600 million dollars from an asset forfeiture fund in the Treasury Department. To round this off to the full $8 billion, Trump is receiving $1.375 billion dollars from the bill Congress passed last week to construct fencing on 55 miles of the border.
Tom Jones, professor of history, stated there have been almost 60 national emergencies since 1976 when Congress passed the National Emergency Act signed by Gerald Ford. Both Barack Obama and George W. Bush declared national emergencies.
"The declaration confers a set of special executive authorities that are designed to give the president the power to effectively handle emergencies, such as an outbreak of war," NBC reporter Jane C. Timm said.
Several states are suing Trump for this action, including California. California attorney general Xavier Becerra and governor Gavin Newsom have had previous run-ins with Trump and continue to be leaders in this lawsuit, according to ABC News.
The lawsuit states Trump's lack of grounding for the actions taken. According to recent statistics by the Customs and Border Protection Data, border apprehensions are down 75 percent since 2001. In 2001, there were 1,643,679 apprehensions, compared to in the 396,579 apprehensions in 2018.
"We're suing President Trump to stop him from unilaterally robbing taxpayer funds lawfully set aside by Congress for the people of our states," Becerra said in Monday's statement. "For most of us, the Office of the Presidency is not a place for theatre."