President Donald Trump declared a national emergency at the country’s Southern border Friday to get access to billions of dollars that would go toward building a border wall, circumventing Congress, according to The New York Times.
Speaking from the Rose Garden at the White House, Trump said that he was declaring the emergency because drugs, criminals and undocumented immigrants were entering the United States from Mexico.
The decision comes after Trump and Democratic leaders negotiated to avoid another government shutdown, according to Forbes. The House and the Senate passed spending bills that would keep the government open until September and authorized $1.375 billion in border fencing, a far cry from the $5.7 billion the president wanted for the wall. He is expected to sign a joint bill today.
According to the Times, Trump will be able to take $3.6 billion budgeted for military construction projects, tap into $2.5 billion from counternarcotic programs and $600 million from the Treasury Department.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer blasted Trump for declaring a national emergency at the Southern border, saying in a statement:
“The President’s unlawful declaration over a crisis that does not exist does great violence to our Constitution and makes America less safe, stealing from urgently needed defense funds for the security of our military and our nation. This is plainly a power grab by a disappointed President, who has gone outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process.
The President’s actions clearly violate the Congress’s exclusive power of the purse, which our Founders enshrined in the Constitution. The Congress will defend our constitutional authorities in the Congress, in the Courts, and in the public, using every remedy available.”
Trump may face legal challenges if Democrats and advocacy groups challenge his decision in the courts.