WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump formally declared a national emergency along the U.S.-Mexico Friday, a step that he maintains will allow him to construct a barrier between the two nations’ without Congressional approval.
“We have an invasion of drugs, invasion of gangs, invasion of people,” Trump said in remarks from the Rose Garden. “It’s unacceptable.”
Under the declaration, the White House said that Trump will be able to commit $8 billion for a wall, most of it being redirected from funds allocated to the U.S. military for counter drug activities and construction projects.
While the move has been met with hesitation from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, Trump argued Friday that national emergencies are routine for most presidents.
“There’s rarely been a problem,” Trump said. “They sign it, nobody cares.”
Still, he predicted that his decision will likely face a lengthy legal battle.
“We will have a national emergency and we will then be sued and they will sue us in the Ninth Circuit,” Trump said, adopting a mocking tone. “We will possibly get a bad ruling and then we’ll get another bad ruling and then we’ll end up in the Supreme Court and hopefully we’ll get a fair shake and we’ll win in the Supreme Court.”
Trump has been pushing lawmakers since last December to provide $5.7 billion in wall funding, warning that if they failed to do so, he would either allow the government to slip in and out of shutdowns or that he would declare a national emergency.
Earlier this week, he was presented with a bipartisan agreement to bolster border security and prevent a partial government shutdown, but it included just under $1.4 billion for a barrier.
During Friday’s remarks, Trump said that he could have relied on allocations around that size for an extended period of time, but instead wanted the process to go faster.
“I didn’t need to do this,” Trump said. “But I’d rather do it much faster.”
The White House announced on Thursday that the president would tie the emergency declaration to the deal, which passed through both chambers Thursday evening.