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Donald Trump threatens to declare a state of emergency to bypass Congress in his quest for the wall

Updated: Apr 14, 2019

The US President is holding his unrelenting stance in favour of a wall across the Mexican border, keeping the government on shutdown for almost three weeks thus far.

Trump’s main campaign pledge was to build the wall, fuelled by a strong anti-immigration rhetoric amassing all Mexicans, Middle Easteners and other non-US Americans together into a collective of “criminals”, “drug traffickers”, and “rapists”. He went as far as saying that Middle Easteners were infiltrated amongst the Central Americans in the caravan, in a Tweet that was unfounded and since disproven (but not deleted).

The speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi calls the wall “an immorality”, with all democrats refusing to pass the 5.7 -billion-dollar spending bill to fund the wall.

However, declaring a state of emergency does not guarantee anything, contrary to what the Trump administration might think. Democratic leader Adam Schiff told CNN’s State of the Union that “if Harry Truman couldn’t nationalise the steel industry during wartime, this president doesn’t have the power to declare an emergency and build a multi-billion-dollar wall on the border. So that’s a non-starter.”

States of emergency can be declared by a president to make unilateral decisions during sensitive times. But declaring one for this case would be highly contested by Congress, and Vice President Pence says there is “no reason in the world” this issue cannot be solved through the standard legislative process.

US-Mexico Border between San Diego and Tijuana

A CNN poll conducted in December 2018 said 57% of Americans opposed the wall, with 38% in favour, and as CNN also states, those numbers are the same as when Trump took office, signalling no gathered support for such project.

Meanwhile, the Central American migrant caravan that Trump has used to leverage his anti-immigration discourse is slowly dissipating, with some settling in Mexico (the country has granted 2,200 visas in a month), and about 1,300 voluntarily returning home (NYTimes).

Moreover, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said more than 4,000 terrorists were detained at the border, but immigration records only show 6 (six) individuals whose names were on the terrorist watch list.

These contradictions are a staple of the Trump administration, with the President’s Counsellor Kellyanne Conway once calling them “alternative facts”.

The government shutdown will continue to be a Trump rhetoric over facts debacle.

Author: Ana Hernandez

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