Trump Still Says He’ll Declare a National Emergency to Build the Wall

(TT– The president looks poised to sign a bill that will avert another government shutdown, then use an emergency declaration to instruct the military to build his wall. From Congress to the border, Texans react.

President Trump didn’t get everything he wanted from Congress for his long-promised border wall, so he signaled Thursday that he’s going to declare a national emergency to make it happen. That announcement brought swift reaction from Texans in Congress and throughout the Texas-Mexico border —where the new wall would be built.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told senators Thursday that Trump is ready to sign a compromise appropriations bill that would avert another government shutdown — and give him significantly less money for a border wall than he’d demanded late last year when his standoff with Congress over wall funding triggered a historically long 35-day shutdown. It contains $1.375 billion for 55 miles of new barrier, much less than the $5.7 billion Trump had sought to build more than 200 miles of barriers.

The Senate approved the bill Thursday afternoon; the House is expected to vote later Thursday. And Trump appears poised to declare an emergency and turn to the military to build additional miles of wall — although a group of Democratic senators quickly filed a bill aimed at stopping him. U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, tweeted: “If @realDonaldTrump declares a national emergency to fund his border wall, I’m prepared to introduce a resolution to terminate the President’s emergency declaration under 50 U.S.C. 1622. (National Emergencies Act) #FakeEmergency”

U.S. Rep Vicente Gonzalez, D-McAllen, called the president’s reported plan “juvenile,” saying such a declaration would create a host of legal issues and strain the relationship between the United States and Mexico — Texas’ largest trading partner.

“Seizing lands across the southwest border for President Trump’s border wall would encroach on private property rights, lead to economic and agricultural losses, inflame U.S.-Mexico relations, infringe on the property rights of Native Americans, endanger public lands and wildlife, create flood hazards and fail to deter illegal immigration,” Gonzalez said in a statement. “President Trump is moving into uncharted territory with his emergency powers utilization, which I am sure will not be met with open arms.”

César Blanco, a Democratic state representative who represents part of El Paso — where Trump held a rally on Monday and repeated his arguments for the wall — called the planned declaration “dangerous and radical” and questioned why Trump couldn’t get funding for the wall during the two years when Republicans controlled Congress.

“This declaration is a dangerous step into dark territory for a president that acts on his worst political impulses,” he said. “He has trampled on the rule of law and disregarded accepted facts, even from military generals, the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community. This declaration is purely political.

“There is no national security crisis on the border,” Blanco added. “The only crisis we have is a humanitarian crisis.”

In the Rio Grande Valley, where most of the new border barrier would be constructed, Nayda Alvarez worries that it would cut through her backyard and onto the nearby eight-acre plot that’s been in her family for hundreds of years.

The 47-year-old speech teacher said she’s already received letters from the government wanting to survey her land in Starr County; she’s denied them entry. Alvarez still doesn’t know if the fence will materialize but said Thursday that she was frustrated by the news that Trump plans to declare an emergency to build the barrier.

“I hope it’s an eye-opener for everybody to realize he’s not in his full state of mind,” Alvarez said.

Yvette Gaytan, Alvarez’s longtime friend and next-door neighbor said she also wants to know what will happen to her family’s land, which features their favorite fishing spot by the river.

“I don’t know if I’m more in shock, or it’s kind of this sense of doom,” Gaytan said. “It’s happening.”

By Julián Aguilar and Arya Sundaram / Republished with permission / Texas Tribune

This article was chosen for republication based on the interest of our readers. Anti-Media republishes stories from a number of other independent news sources. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect Anti-Media editorial policy.