Washington: US President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency to bypass Congress and fulfil his long-pending demand of building a wall along the border with Mexico.
Defending his move, Trump asserted that he had ‘no choice’ but to use his emergency powers to stop illegal immigrants spreading crime and drugs.
President Trump Speaks on the National Security & Humanitarian Crisis on Our Southern Border https://t.co/FqdfFORbv5
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 15, 2019
“I am going to be signing a national emergency. It’s a great thing to do because we have an invasion of drugs, invasion of gangs, invasion of people,” The Hill quoted Trump as saying at a press conference in Rose Garden.
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Acknowledging that his move could be challenged legally, Trump remarked that his decision would eventually prevail. He said that he could wait for a “long time” to build his long-called barrier, but added that he wanted to move “faster” in this regard.
“I could do the wall over a long period of time. I didn’t need to do this, but I’d rather do it much faster,” he said.
As expected, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, the top two Democrats in the Congress, criticised the US President for his decision and said that they would use “every available remedy” to revoke the “unlawful” emergency declaration.
Slamming Trump for violating the American Constitution, a joint statement by Pelosi and Schumer read, “The President’s unlawful declaration over a crisis that does not exist does great violence to our Constitution and makes America less safe. The President is not above the law. Congress cannot let the President shred the Constitution.”
The White House later confirmed that Trump signed a border security legislation into law approved by the Congress that fund roughly a quarter of the government and thereby, preventing a new partial shutdown that was set to begin on Saturday.
The bipartisan agreement would provide USD 1.3 billion in funding to build the barricade along the US-Mexico border, well short of Trump’s demand for USD 5.7 billion.
On Thursday, the Senate and House of Representatives passed the border security legislation to prevent a fresh shutdown.
Trump, who was mulling the option of declaring a national emergency for building the wall, had said that he did not want to see another partial government shutdown, asserting that it “would be a terrible thing” and did not want to see “another one.”
An impasse between the US Congress and Trump over funding for the wall had earlier triggered the longest-ever partial government shutdown in the US last December, which lasted for 35 days and left around 800,000 federal workers without pay for the period.
(With ANI inputs)