Trump declares state of emergency in bid to fund U.S.-Mexico border wall

Within hours, the action was challenged in a lawsuit filed on behalf of three Texas landowners, saying that Trump's declaration violates the US Constitution and infringes on their property rights.

By REUTERS
February 16, 2019 12:30
2 minute read.
Trump declares state of emergency in bid to fund U.S.-Mexico border wall

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) during a meeting with the House and Senate Democratic leadership in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., December 11, 2018. (photo credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS)

 
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President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency in a bid to fund his promised wall at the US-Mexico border without congressional approval, an action Democrats vowed to challenge as a violation of the US Constitution.

The Republican president's move, circumventing Congress, seeks to make good on a 2016 presidential campaign pledge to build a border wall that Trump insists is necessary to curtail illegal immigration he blames for bringing crime and drugs into the United States.

Within hours, the action was challenged in a lawsuit filed on behalf of three Texas landowners, saying that Trump's declaration violates the US Constitution and that the planned wall would infringe on their property rights.

Both California and New York said that they, too, planned to file lawsuits.

Hours after Trump's announcement, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee said it had launched an investigation into the emergency declaration.

In a letter to Trump, committee Democrats asked him to make available for a hearing White House and Justice Department officials involved in the action. They also requested legal documents on the decision that led to the declaration, setting a deadline of next Friday.

"We believe your declaration of an emergency shows a reckless disregard for the separation of powers and your own responsibilities under our constitutional system," said the letter, signed by Chairman Jerrold Nadler and other top Democrats on the panel.


Trump on Friday also signed a bipartisan government spending bill that would prevent another partial government shutdown by funding several agencies that otherwise would have closed on Saturday.

President Donald Trump earlier this year invoked Israel’s security barrier in defense of what had been his previously non-negotiable demand to build a wall along the Mexican border.

“Israel built a wall, 99.9 percent successful,” Trump said in a Rose Garden speech in late January announcing that he agreed to reopen the government. “Won’t be any different for us.”

Israel constructed a border fence on the Egyptian frontier beginning in 2010. Observers have said the border there is a fraction of the length of America’s border with Mexico. Democrats in Congress had rejected Trump’s calls for a wall, instead insisting that controlling illegal entry depends on more sophisticated technologies.

Trump in his Rose Garden address said some of these technologies, including drones, would be incorporated into a bill that he said he expected Congress to deliver to him by Feb. 15.

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