By clicking, counts the download Washington, Feb 14 (EFEUSA) .- The White House confirmed today that the president, Donald Trump, plans to declare a “national emergency” to finance the construction of a wall on the border with Mexico, after two years of clashes with a Congress reluctant to approve the funds for this controversial project.
These are the keys to understanding that mechanism, which could unleash a long legal battle:
WHAT IS A NATIONAL EMERGENCY?
It is a statement that gives the president temporarily a special power to deal with a crisis. The National Emergencies Act of 1976 authorizes the presidents to declare it, but establishes few parameters. There are only two conditions: the president can only use prerogatives already conferred by Congress, and he has to specify what they are.
Therefore, “Trump will have to specify what tools he plans to use, under his emergency decree, to get funds for the wall,” presumably diverting them from other budget items, a professor of political management at George Washington University told Matthew. Dallek
WHAT DOES THE RESOURCE JUSTIFY A NATIONAL EMERGENCY?
The law allows issuing that statement when the country is “threatened by a crisis, exigency or emergency circumstances” other than wars or natural disasters, according to a 2007 report from the Congressional Research Service.
Trump will have to argue, therefore, that the arrival of undocumented and narcotic immigrants to the country by the Mexican border is a crisis that requires urgent and extraordinary measures.
IS YOUR USE FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE WALL LEGAL?
The experts differ on this point. Some believe that the executive authority of the president has no limits, but others, like Dallek, think that this measure “is unprecedented” and generates serious legal doubts, because “it avoids Congress and usurps the power (prerogative)” exclusive of the branch legislation to determine the budgets of the federal government.
WHAT OTHER CRISIS HAVE MOTIVATED AN EMERGENCY DECLARATION?
Since the 1976 law was signed, 58 national emergencies have been declared, of which 31 are still active today. The vast majority responded to international problems – such as the hostage crisis in Iran in 1979 or the laundering of US money by Colombian cartels in 1995 – and were intended to justify the imposition of sanctions.
In 2015, then-President Barack Obama unleashed a great controversy by proclaiming that the situation in Venezuela represented a “national emergency” for national security. That alarmist message was, in fact, a mere procedure to give legal basis to new economic restrictions for Venezuelan officials.
Trump is not the first president to resort to that measure for a national issue: Obama did it during the 2009 A flu epidemic, like George W. Bush after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. “But none has used an emergency declaration so bold, in response to his failure to obtain funds from Congress for one of his domestic priorities, “Dallek said.
WHERE WILL THE FUNDS FOR THE WALL OUT?
Under the national emergency, Trump could divert funds from other budget items already authorized by Congress and dedicate them to his border project. Existing laws would allow, for example, that Pentagon funds be used to build the wall, if justified as necessary for national defense. According to press reports, the White House is also evaluating recourse to disaster relief funds approved for California and Puerto Rico, which is controversial given that the island is still recovering from the impact of Hurricane Maria in 2017.
WILL TRUMP COME OUT WITH YOURS?
Everything points to the courts having the last word. Democratic leaders in Congress have defined Trump’s plans as “a flagrant abuse of presidential powers,” and several progressive groups are preparing lawsuits to invalidate the declaration of emergency. The big question is what will happen if the issue reaches the Supreme Court, where there is a majority of conservative judges, two of whom are nominated by Trump.
Dallek’s forecast: “The courts will block their measure and the issue will take many months, maybe years, to resolve and the wall will not be built.”