President of The United States of America Donald Trump said he is looking very strongly to invoke emergency powers just to build the wall in the country’s southern border. As the Government of the US has shut down the $5.6 billion funding proposed for the wall in the border of Mexico. There have been a lot of debates amongst analysts and the media in the US about if he can do it or not within the norms that are laid down by the Constitution.
POTUS Emergency Powers
Actually, The POTUS does have the power to declare a national emergency, if ever this does happen it will allow him to create an exception to some of the rules that normally constrains him, the idea behind this is to allow the government to respond instantly to the said crisis.
The co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program said “Declaring the Emergency is pretty easy. There aren’t a lot of legal limits on his (Trump’s) ability to do that, frankly, even if there isn’t a real emergency happening.”
The Congress’s options
The Congress passed The National Emergencies Act, 1976, after the Watergate scandal in the early 1970s, along with it, is the idea of gathering a few checks on the power of the POTUS, while he does not hamper in an act of an emergency. This act will require the POTUS to simply inform the current Congress when he/she announces a national emergency and provide the Congress with a list of some powers that are or will be invoked. The administration is then required to give a regular update to the lawmakers and the Congress.
Ex. In present, the Congress could reject the declaration of emergency by the POTUS. But as we all know the Republicans have control over the Senate, so that this will not go that way.
Building the wall
According to the POTUS, there is a national security crisis present at the southern border of America, he mentioned that there are a lot of drugs, criminals, and human traffickers pouring in. During an emergency there is a provision that allows diverting resources and troops to build “authorised civil works, military construction and civil defence projects that are essential to the national defence”, and also, it allows military construction projects “not otherwise authorised by law that are necessary to support such use of the armed forces”.
The legal position
It is almost certain that Trump’s legal authority will invite a court battle, one report said: “there (was) a nonfrivolous legal case to be made”. Political analysts are arguing that an emergency will settle a political standoff, but it will not pass the legal muster and it will lead to challenges coming from the rivals of Donald Trump. Ms. Goiten added “The problem is that Congress has enabled abuse of power by putting virtually no limits on the President’s ability to declare an Emergency,”
The situation on the Border
If The POTUS does declare that the situation in the southern border (Mexico-USA) constitutes an emergency that validates building a wall without any sanction coming from the Congress, he will run up against a reality that the number of Mexicans crossing the border illegally is currently really low as compared to what it was nearly twenty years ago. Migrants have actually approached the authorities to seek asylum in the USA, rather than crossing the border in an illegal way.