Trump aide predicts 'hundreds of miles' of border wall by 2020

White House advisor Stephen Miller seen in a January 2019 meeting behind Donald Trump says the president's declaration of a national emergency will allow construction of 'hundreds of miles' of border barriers before the 2020 election

White House advisor Stephen Miller seen in a January 2019 meeting behind Donald Trump says the president's declaration of a national emergency will allow construction of 'hundreds of miles' of border barriers before the 2020 election

The White House is digging in for fights on multiple fronts as the president's effort to go around Congress to fund his long-promised border wall faces bipartisan criticism and multiple legal challenges.

Given the near-certainty of legal challenges and of a possible blocking move in Congress, it is far from clear how quickly barrier construction can advance on the 1,950-mile (3,140-kilometer) border.

"Courts are reluctant to second-guess the president on matters of national security", Shane said.

Trump's proposed wall and wider immigration policies are likely to be a major campaign issue ahead of the next presidential election in November 2020, where he will seek a second four-year term.

While Miller attempted to press the point that this specific emergency refers to military construction funds, Wallace countered, noting that such has only occurred twice: during the Gulf War, and following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The act requires a president to notify Congress publicly of the national emergency and to report every six months.

"Because no national emergency exists with respect to immigration across the southern border, the President's invocation of emergency powers through the Declaration usurps legislative authority conferred by the Constitution on the Congress", the lawsuit argues.

After Wallace asked Miller whether he thought Trump's declaration of a national emergency to build a southern border wall was unconstitutional, the senior adviser responded that Trump was permitted to do that under the National Emergencies Act of 1976.

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"Because the emergency declaration is unlawful, the President lacks statutory authority to direct the spending of funds for that objective; the expenditure of monies from the United States Treasury for a border wall for which Congress has refused to appropriate funds violates Article I of the Constitution".

Several legal experts said claims that the building of the wall is not the kind of project contemplated in the military construction law could be more hard to rebut because border security is more like a law enforcement issue than a military emergency. Lower courts struck down the ban, but the Supreme Court upheld it in a 5-4 vote previous year.

That might have been the only thing he said that produced near-universal agreement. "He has the authority to make the declaration and he has the money".

But the administration's defence of Trump's action may not be a smooth ride.

Trump is running for re-election next year and a loss would mean his presidency ends in January 2021. Miller implied that if such a resolution is approved, Trump will use his power of veto for the first time.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said his state would sue "imminently" to block the order, after the American Civil Liberties Union and the activist group Public Citizen announced Friday that they were taking legal action. "Hopefully, we'll get a fair shake and we'll win in the Supreme Court, just like the ban", he said.

Opponents may have more traction arguing that the president is unlawfully trying to tap funds Congress appropriated for the Pentagon, the experts said.

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