President Trump Warns He Could Declare Border Crisis A National Emergency

President Donald Trump warned Friday afternoon that he’s going to fight for a secure border, stressing that he won’t compromise the border wall even if the government shutdown lasts years. It was his second closed door meeting with Democrats and Republican leadership but no compromise or resolution was reached.

He addressed reporters in the White House Rose Garden shortly after the meeting saying the parties made progress but were far from a resolution. The president, however, threatened that the impasse could end with a decision by him to declare the crisis at the border a national emergency. By declaring it an emergency, he could get the funding he needs to build a wall.

“We can do it,” said Trump, referencing the possibility of declaring it a national emergency.  “I haven’t done it. I may do it. I may do it.” However, he said that he would prefer to find a solution through negotiations.

His address on Friday came in the wake of a two-week government shutdown over the $5 billion he requested in the budget for the border wall, which Democrats do not support.

“We mentioned the price that we want $5.6 billion dollars very strongly,” he said. “This is national security we’re talking about, we’re not talking about games, we’re talking about national security. This should’ve been done by all the president’s that preceded me and they all know it.”

Tom Homan, retired former acting director of Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement, told in an interview this week the national security implications of a porous border are serious and vast. Homan said the majority of ICE personnel and federal law enforcement officials he’s spoken with back the president’s decision to find a resolution to the border wall.

Trump and Congress To Work Throughout The Weekend

In a letter to members of congress Friday morning the president pushed for the border wall funding, noting the national security implications of not taking action.

According to the Associated Press, Democrats say the shutdown is making it difficult for families to pay bills. They called on Trump to reopen the government while negotiations continue.

“It’s very hard to see how progress will be made unless they open up the government,” said Senate Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. House Democrats attempted to push through legislation Thursday night that would fund the government but not the border wall.

During his address Friday, Trump highlighted the problems federal law enforcement personnel face along the porous border. He noted that the situation is not solely about illegal immigration but more importantly, the illicit trafficking of narcotics and the evidence that terrorist organizations have attempted to use the border to move people into the United States.

The president was flanked by Vice President Mike Pence and Congressional leaders at the press conference. including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Steve Scalise, R-LA. They said their teams are prepared to work throughout the weekend.
Currently 800,000 federal workers are now on furlough. Some are working without guaranteed pay but Trump stressed that he’s not going to back down saying, “the safety net is going to be having a strong border because we’re going to be safe.”
The president has spoken to some furloughed workers who support the administration’s decision to not back away from the border wall funding, Trump revealed. He said those workers have told him, “Mr. President keep going, this is far more important.”

According to the White House, both the administration and Congressional Staff will work through the weekend to accelerate bipartisan consensus.

For more on the White House plans read here.