Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.
On Thursday, CNN reported that the White House is preparing a draft order for President Donald Trump to declare a national emergency along the southern border, divert $7 billion from the Treasury, Pentagon, and Department of Homeland Security, and direct the Army Corps of Engineers to construct a border wall on seized private land:
“The massive amount of aliens who unlawfully enter the United States each day is a direct threat to the safety and security of our nation and constitutes a national emergency,” a draft of a presidential proclamation reads.
“Now, therefore, I, Donald J. Trump, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C 1601, et seq.), hereby declare that a national emergency exists at the southern border of the United States,” the draft adds.
The news came just after the Senate shot down by 50-47 Trump’s proposal to reopen the government, appropriate $5.7 billion for the wall, ban asylum claims at the border, and sharply limit eligibility for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and temporary protected status (TPS) while extending the programs for three years. Trump attempted to bill this as a “compromise,” but it was, in fact, a right-wing fever dream.
An alternative, clean resolution to reopen the government which Senate Republicans voted for last month but was reintroduced by Senate Democrats after passing the House also lost, but by a slightly larger vote of 52-44. Both bills would have needed 60 votes to clear a filibuster.
It is not yet clear whether Trump has actually decided to execute this plan. But he appears to be moving closer to the possibility, as he suggested after the failed Senate vote that if Congress reopens the government without giving him border wall money, he has “alternatives.”
Previously, Trump has previously said that he would “rather not” resort to declaring a national emergency — some Republicans have come out against this option. Democrats are likely to sue if he tries to bypass Congress.
Now that Trump has failed to get the votes for his agenda in Congress, and in light of the fact that the administration has no apparent backup plan for a legislative solution, the possibility of Trump trying to blow up the separation of powers and build the wall under his military authority seems more likely than ever.