What happens if Trump declares an emergency to build his wall?
Here's how Trump can build a wall without having to get congressional approval.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has hinted that he might declare a state of emergency to bypass Congress and get funding for his wall, just days before the February 15 deadline.
The Atlantic reports that under the National Emergencies Act of 1976, President Trump can declare a national emergency along the southern border, and have access to specific powers that Congress has already codified by law.
A U.S. government official told CNN, "the administration could pull: $681 million from Treasury forfeiture funds, $3.6 billion in military construction, $3 billion in Pentagon civil works funds, and $200 million in Department of Homeland Security funds."
So funds originally intended for projects like military housing or civil infrastructure repair would now be reallocated for wall construction. According to Vox, Trump could also unlock a $20 million immigration emergency fund that's meant to be used by states to feed and house migrants.
CNN reports that if the emergency declaration is made, the Army Corps of Engineers would then be deployed to build the wall.
Private property on which some portions of the wall will be built can be seized by the administration since it will be for public use. Internal White House documents reviewed by CNN indicates that "environmental reviews can be skipped, and Homeland Security can use waivers to bypass contracting laws."
Congress can override the declaration with a simple majority vote, but if the President were to veto, they will need a supermajority or two-thirds vote in both chambers to override it.
Though it's unclear at the moment if Trump really means to declare an emergency or is just issuing empty threats, we wouldn't put it past him to try for a massive abuse of power.
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