If you thought the government shutdown was the worst the Trump presidency could do, just remember, this is the Trump presidency. The administration that allows children to be detained by ICE, calls asylum seekers “invaders”, spouts lies on a daily basis and who fails to live up to campaign promises is now willing to declare a national emergency to get its way.
President Trump made this declaration in order to build a border wall due to, "...an invasion of drugs and criminals coming into our country." The border wall, which has been denounced as completely ineffective by experts, will cost $8 billion. Trump plans to divert money that Congress gave for building a fence into building the wall, in addition to other funds from government projects and the Treasury Department.
How does declaring a national emergency allow the president to divert funding from other government projects? To put it simply, the president is allowed to do whatever he needs to do without oversight, during a national emergency. For example, In a New York Times article from 2009, an outbreak of swine flu prompted former President Obama to declare a national emergency and allow hospitals to set up offsite locations and disaster relief centers for quick vaccinations. However, the difference between the immigration crisis and a flu outbreak is that a flu outbreak is an actual national emergency.
Despite Trump declaring his national emergency, it may not be as simple as signing a few papers. According to Time Magazine, California along with 15 other states are suing President Trump for his unlawful use of emergency powers to fund his wall. Other groups such as homeowners with property on the border, the Democratic Party, and the American Civil Liberties Union are also filing lawsuits to combat Trump's declaration. So far, it looks like the lawsuits will be major obstacles for Trump.
Trump admitted that he only declared a national emergency to make the process of building the wall more expedient. This flimsy excuse, in addition to the lawsuits, sounds like it will only make Trump even more unpopular. One shouldn't necessarily be too confident yet.
As has been seen before with appointing Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the recent government shutdown, and as far back as the 2016 elections, Trump has ways of subverting expectations. It's important to remember that Republicans still have the support of both the Senate and the Supreme Court, both of which could simply allow Trump to act as he sees fit and not challenge his claims. However, according to the Atlantic, Republicans seem to be somewhat split on the issue of declaring a national emergency, with ten percent supporting Trump's decision, five percent opposed 16 percent who have concerns and 22 percent who've remained ambiguous about the situation.
While the Trump Administration has made rash decisions before that ended in failure, such as the recent game of chicken surrounding the government shutdown, Trump is more than likely to pull something even worse in the future.