Following national emergency declaration
White House pushes for rapid border wall construction
18 February 2019
The Trump administration intends to use the emergency powers invoked by the president on Friday to begin construction of a border wall as quickly as possible, White House officials said over the weekend. Stephen Miller, the White House aide who has spearheaded the attacks on immigrants, told “Fox News Sunday” that the goal was to have more than 200 miles of new wall constructed by the end of the next fiscal year, September 30, 2020.
The purpose appears to be twofold: to preempt the legal challenges that have already begun to Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on the US-Mexico border by creating new “facts on the ground” before any court can issue a ruling, and to energize Trump’s fascistic political base by putting significant portions of a border wall in place before the 2020 presidential election.
Press reports indicate that the White House aims to delay drawing $3.6 billion from already appropriated military construction funds, which can be accessed only under the national emergency decree, in order to delay court challenges to the decree. This would give the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Pentagon time to begin the actual construction of the wall using other funding sources.
The DHS will first spend the money appropriated by Congress in the funding bill Trump signed into law on Friday, some $1.375 billion for “border security.” In addition, the Office of Management and Budget will authorize the transfer of $600 million from a Treasury fund derived from confiscated drug profits and redirect $2.5 billion in funds appropriated for military efforts to support actions against drug trafficking. Both…