US President Donald Trump said on Friday he would not “rush” to declare a state of emergency that would give him extraordinary powers to bypass Congress to fund a wall along the US-Mexico border.
There is no sign of a compromise between the Republican president, who wants to finance a $ 5.7 billion barrier on the border with Mexico to stem the flow of immigrants, and Democrats, who are fiercely opposed to the project.
The “closure” led to the failure to receive some 800,000 people, including FBI agents, air traffic controllers and museum staff, on Friday.
The longest “closing” record in US history lasted 21 days in 1995-1996 under Bill Clinton.
The current closure could exceed that figure if no agreement was reached by midnight on Friday.
“The easiest solution for me is to declare a state of emergency”, Trump said at a meeting on border security.
“I will not rush to do so because this decision is coming back to Congress”.
“If they cannot”, Trump said, “I will announce the state of national emergency.
I have the absolute right to do so”.
The US president has repeatedly threatened to declare a national emergency along the border with Mexico as he seeks funding to build a wall that will exclude dangerous migrants, he said.
Minutes before the president’s announcement, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of Trump’s most vocal supporters, wrote in a statement Thursday: “Mr. President, declare the state of national emergency now”.
The president’s adversaries say the president’s unilateral move on the border issue would constitute a constitutional
transgression and a dangerous precedent in similar contentious issues.
The confrontation between the president and the Democrats turned into a test of political vanity, especially for Trump, who came to the presidency, honing his ability to make deals, and making the construction of a border wall a cornerstone of his policy.
On the other hand, the Democrats seem determined to prevent the president from carrying out his electoral promise to build the wall.
Republicans and Democrats agree that the border between the United States and Mexico poses several challenges ranging from drug-related violence to the suffering of poor asylum-seekers and migrants seeking the opportunity to live in the world’s richest country.
Currently, there is a fence covering about a third of the border.
But Trump is demanding a campaign that his opponents see as an attempt to inflame xenophobia among the right wing of his constituency, deliberately ignoring the complexity of the border issue.
Trump, who visited Texas on Thursday at the border with Mexico, said conditions at the border amounted to an invasion by criminals whose solution could only be solved by building more walls.
At the White House, the US president said “the country is under siege”.
Drugs are smuggled across remote border areas, but most of the smuggling is carried out by cars through heavily guarded border points, according to a report by the US Drug Enforcement Administration in 2017.
According to the report, the majority of smuggling operations are carried out through “ports of entry into the United States”.
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the money should be spent on several areas of border protection, but not on building walls.
But Trump accused the Democrats of wanting only to score points against him before the next presidential election in 2020.