The US president has declared a national emergency in an effort to raise funds for his proposed US-Mexico border wall.
Donald Trump announced, on Friday, that he is using emergency powers to circumvent Congress and go on with his plan to build a wall on the US-Mexico border. In a rather pugnacious press conference held in the White House, Trump insisted that a national emergency declaration will stop the criminal activities of illegal immigrants.
During his presidential campaign in 2016, Trump pledged to build a border wall that would help curb illegal migration, a situation he says has greatly increased the rate of crime and drug trafficking in the United States. The president is declaring a state of emergency now to ensure that he fulfills his promise to the electorate.
During the press conference on Friday, Trump said that the National Emergencies Act of 1976 gives a sitting president the power to declare an emergency and many presidents have done so. The Brennan Center reports that Bill Clinton declared 17 national emergencies, George Bush declared 13 and Barack Obama declared 12. However, most of these emergencies were declared when crises emerged overseas.
Justifying his reasons for declaring a national emergency, Trump said, “There is an invasion of human traffickers, drug dealers and violent gangs in our
country.” Trump asked two women whose family members were killed by illegal immigrants to show the pictures of their loved ones to the audience.
Trump told reporters that he was not happy with the $1.4bn that the Congress offered him. “I want to do it faster. I could build the wall over a longer period of time but I choose to do it much faster,” he said.
When reporters asked if his actions had anything to do with the forthcoming elections, the president replied that he was not building the wall because he wants to return to office in 2020. “I have already done enough for the 2020 elections. We are here talking about this today because they want to try and win an election that seems impossible for them,” he added.