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Feb 15, 2019

State of Emergency: Trump Declares a National Emergency at the Southern Border over Wall Dispute

Catriona M. Davenport

On February 15, 2019, President Trump declared a state of emergency supposedly allowing him to redirect funds, previously allocated to defense, to construct and repair hundreds of miles of fencing and walls at the southern border. The $8 billion funding referenced by the President will consist not only of funds redirected from defense, it will also include funds reallocated from the Department of Treasury. This news comes just one day after the United States House and Senate passed a spending bill that included $1.37 billion for repairs to the wall, rather than the $5.7 billion deemed politically necessary by the President to avoid another government shutdown.

In a speech that lasted for almost an hour, the President emphasized the importance of security at the southern border while also calling for major immigration reform citing ‘catch and release’, chain migration and the diversity lottery as ‘real problems’ with the current system. These sentiments are consistent with the President’s hardline immigration goals that have been central to his presidency. We disagree with his assessment in nearly its entirety. We further believe that executing construction of the boarder wall is on shaky ground constitutionally.

Indeed, President Trump stated that he expects Democrats to challenge his executive decision, and ‘bad rulings’ from the judiciary that will go all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States. The action is likely also to generate considerable litigation from landowners who may be affected by property seizures.

Green and Spiegel is closely monitoring the developments regarding the state of emergency, and wider immigration reform efforts. If you have any questions, please contact us immediately.

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