Border Emergency?

January 8, 2019
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Border Emergency?

I can do it if I want… We can call a national emergency and build it very quickly.”

A president can declare a national emergency – EVERY president since 1976 has done so –A *BUT* may President Trump do so in order to fund a border wall?

What To Know

The 1976 National Emergencies Act allows a president to declare an emergency in order to, among other things:

  • take property & commodities
  • limit travel & prohibit trade
  • invoke martial law & send troops

The Act does NOT define “national emergency.”A The president must use existing laws to do so.

Presidential Power Limits

  • The president must identify an existing law to invoke the emergency power (example: use the legal definition of an “immigration emergency” to make his case).
  • Emergencies expire after one year UNLESS renewed.
  • Emergency can be rescinded any time via a joint resolution passed by both houses of Congress.

BOTTOM LINE: Yes, it is within President Trump's legal authority to declare a national emergency without Congressional approval, *HOWEVER* if he does so in order to build a border wall, he is all but guaranteed to face a legal challenge.

by Jenna Lee,