CNN has obtained documentation showing that the White House is working on a draft proclamation for President Donald Trump to declare a national emergency along the southern border and has, at the same time, identified over $7 billion for his long-sought border wall if he decides to take that course of action.
President Trump has not ruled out taking that route and directing the Defense Department to construct a border wall as Congress and the White House fight over a deal to end the government shutdown.
“The massive amount of aliens who unlawfully enter the United States each day is a direct threat to the safety and security of our nation and constitutes a national emergency,” a draft of a presidential proclamation reads.
“Now, therefore, I, Donald J. Trump, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C 1601, et seq.), hereby declare that a national emergency exists at the southern border of the United States,” it continues.
According to a U.S. government official, among the options being considered is pulling $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.
President Trump reiterated Thursday his previous comments that there were other ways of funding the border wall without approval by Congress.
“I have other alternatives if I have to and I’ll use those alternatives if I have to. A lot of people who wants this to happen. The military wants this to happen. This is a virtual invasion of our country,” the President said.
Should the declaration be ultimately made, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would be deployed to build the wall, parts of which would have to be constructed on seized private property. The draft acknowledges there may be lawsuits if private property is acquired in order to build the wall and Democrats have long promised to challenge the move in court.