Trump declares national urgency for wall, Democrats promise judicial fight

Donald Trump announced on February 15, 2019 that he declared the national emergency to finance the wall at the border. – REX / Shutterstock / SIPA

He had assured that Mexico would pay for the wall. Then that Congress would give him the necessary budget. Finally, Donald Trump signed Friday a declaration of "national emergency", an exceptional procedure, to finance the building. "Everyone knows that the walls work," the US president hammered home from the White House gardens during a particularly disjointed press conference where he spoke of an "invasion" of drugs and criminals.

This procedure should allow it to bypass the Congress in order to unlock federal funds – especially for the Pentagon – to build
his flagship work against illegal immigration. In total, and accounting for the $ 1.4 billion released by Congress, it could, according to the White House, have some $ 8 billion for the construction of this building repeatedly promised on the country stands.

Judicial battle in sight

Democrat opposition leaders, who question the existence of a security emergency at the border, immediately denounced an unconstitutional initiative, saying that the presidential move went against the principle of the separation of powers. "The illegal declaration of the president, starting from a crisis that does not exist, is a blow to our Constitution and makes America less safe," said Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Chuck Schumer, Chief. of the Democratic minority in the Senate.

New York State, a Democratic stronghold, quickly declared that it would go to court. "California is bringing you to justice," said California governor Gavin Newsom.

The president said he expected legal action against his national emergency declaration. "Fortunately we are going to win," he added, displaying a confidence no doubt confirmed by the conservative judges he has appointed to the Supreme Court, the country's highest court.

"Illegitimate Summon"

"Shame on any member of Congress who will not clearly and vigorously oppose this illegitimate invocation" of a national emergency, thundered the powerful American civil liberties organization, ACLU.

Several presidents of the United States have in the past resorted to these exceptional means, but in very different circumstances and much less controversial. Jimmy Carter had invoked urgency after the hostage-taking at the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979. George W. Bush had done so after the attacks of September 11, 2001. And Barack Obama had recourse to it during the H1N1 flu epidemic.