Congress’ Nonpartisan Research Arm Says Trump Could Build the Wall Without State of Emergency or Funding

Luke Rosiak | Investigative Reporter

The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a paper internally that suggests President Donald Trump may have the authority to use Department of Defense resources to build a wall without obtaining congressional approval or declaring a state of emergency.
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CRS, Congress’s in-house research arm, internally published a paper Jan. 10 titled “Can the Department of Defense Build the Border Wall?,” which The Daily Caller News Foundation has obtained. It says (emphasis added):

Another statute that authorizes the Secretary of Defense to assist civilian law enforcement with counterdrug activities may provide some authority for the construction of barriers along the border. 10 U.S.C. § 284 (Section 284) provides that the Secretary of Defense “may provide support for the counterdrug activities or activities to counter transnational organized crime” of any law enforcement agency, including through the “[c]onstruction of roads and fences and installation of lighting to block drug smuggling corridors across international boundaries of the United States.” …

Use of Section 284 would not require a declaration of a national emergency under the NEA. However, the DOD’s Section 284 authority to construct fences appears to extend only to “drug smuggling corridors,” a condition that may limit where DOD could deploy fencing.

“Drug corridors” are not defined in law, according to a top congressional aide.

The president has suggested using executive authority as a workaround to the stalemate that led to the partial government shutdown. House Democrats have refused to allocate $5.7 billion Trump requested to build part of a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, and the president has refused to support legislation opening the government that does not include border wall funding. Trump said Jan. 4 that he has considered using a “state of emergency” to build the wall. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley urged Trump not to declare a state of emergency and expressed concerns about overreach and setting a precedent Democrats could also use when in power. (RELATED: Here’s What Would Happen If Trump Declared A National Emergency To Build The Wall) 

But the CRS report suggests that there is another option beyond negotiating with Congress or declaring a national emergency.

2 Responses to Congress’ Nonpartisan Research Arm Says Trump Could Build the Wall Without State of Emergency or Funding

  1. William Hicks January 25, 2019 at 2:19 pm

    As a person that served in uniform, I know there were projects done with soldiers that were certainly not declared emergencies before the post commander decided they be done.

    Certainly, The Commander In Chief can build a wall with the same resources if he can send soldiers to Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, and Iraq.

    Reply
  2. William Hicks January 25, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    I agree that it may be that the President can get this done without it being determined a “National Emergency.”If you’re interested, just google all the jobs that The Army Corps of Engineers has listed to do and have already done, as well.

    Certainly The President is giving the congress the opportunity to do their job, but it seem’s to be a pissing contest at present. Giving them a time specific last chance is showing who the adult is in this controversy.

    Whatever choice is made, let it be said that President Trump has done everything he can to come to an agreement with an oppositional congress.

    Reply

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