The White House on Friday identified $8.1 billion that could be allocated for walls along the southern border after President Trump declared a national emergency there because of the illegal aliens, criminals and drugs entering from Mexico.
Democrats had flatly refused wall funding, leading to a partial government shutdown and a stopgap resolution that expires Friday. In the proposed budget resolution, Democrats agreed to only $1.375 billion in wall funding and inserted provisions that could prevent the money from being used for its intended purpose.
The president said he will sign the budget bill but also declare a national emergency along the southern border, which gives him authority to order some construction without participation from Congress.
The Congressional Research Service said his move likely will succeed, at least partly because any member of Congress challenging his action in court would need to demonstrate personal injury.
The White House said in a statement after the declaration that Trump was elected “partly on his promise to secure the southern border with a barrier and, since his first day in office, he has been following through on that promise.”
The president noted that this week a massive section that already had funding was begun in Texas.
The bill allocates $1.375 billion for about 55 miles of border barrier in “dangerous” drug smuggling corridors.
And there’s $415 million for the humanitarian crisis that has resulted from caravans of immigrants marching from Central America to the U.S. border.
The White House said Trump is “using his legal authority to take executive action to secure additional resources, just as he promised. In part, he is declaring a national emergency that makes available additional troops and funding for military construction.”
The White House broke down the $8.1 billion available for wall funding.
There’s some $601 million from the Treasury Forfeiture Fund, $2.5 billion under the Department of Defense funds transferred for Support for Counterdrug Activities (Title 10 United States Code, section 284), and some $3.6 billion reallocated from Department of Defense military construction projects under the president’s declaration of a national emergency (Title 10 United States Code, section 2808).
The statement noted governors of border states, including Janet Napolitano of Arizona and Bill Richardson of New Mexico, previously declared emergencies along the border.
“Former President George W. Bush and former President Obama both directed the use of the military to assist DHS in securing and managing the southern border,” the White House argued.
The border problems include MS-13 gang crime; the smuggling of deadly drugs, including meth, heroin, cocaine and fentanyl; human trafficking that creates slave conditions for young girls; and caravans of migrants looking to gain illegal entry.
The White House statement said the $8.1 billion would be sufficient for now.
The White House asserted the emergency declaration is completely within the law and in no way sets an untoward precedent, as Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has claimed.