On February 15, U.S. president Donald Trump signed the Presidential Proclamation on Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Southern Border of the United States.
“The current situation at the southern border presents a border security and humanitarian crisis that threatens core national security interests and constitutes a national emergency,” stated the presidential proclamation. “The southern border is a major entry point for criminals, gang members, and illicit narcotics.”
“The problem of large-scale unlawful migration through the southern border is long-standing, and despite the executive branch’s exercise of existing statutory authorities, the situation has worsened in certain respects in recent years.
“In response to the directive in my April 4, 2018, memorandum and subsequent requests for support by the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense has provided support and resources to the Department of Homeland Security at the southern border. Because of the gravity of the current emergency situation, it is necessary for the Armed Forces to provide additional support to address the crisis.
According to a just-released White House fact sheet, President Trump’s national emergency declaration makes available additional troops and funding for military construction.
This includes funding in Homeland Security appropriations, including up to $8.1 billion for the border wall following the national emergency declaration. Additional funds have been ‘reprogrammed’, including:
- Approximately $601 million from the Treasury Forfeiture Fund
- Up to $2.5 billion under the Department of Defense funds transferred for Support for Counterdrug Activities
- Up to $3.6 billion reallocated from Department of Defense military construction projects under the President’s declaration of a national emergency
These funding sources, states the White House, will be used sequentially and as needed.
The Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, and the Army Corps of Engineers, according to the fact sheet. are working to create a prioritised list of segments and a work plan for the remainder of FY 2019 and beyond.
New projects could include a new levee wall, new and replacement primary pedestrian barriers, new vehicle-to-pedestrian barriers, and a new secondary barrier.