During a press conference held in the White House’s rose garden on Friday, President Trump declared a national state of emergency in order to secure funding for his Mexican border wall.
Trump cited an “invasion of drugs” as the primary cause for declaration.
"It’s a great thing to do because we have an invasion of drugs, invasion of drugs, invasion of people and it's unacceptable," he said.
With this action, Trump hopes to unlock a total of $8 billion for the border wall. Last week, congress approved $1.37 billion from Congress, far short of his initial $5.7 billion request, the refusal of which prompted Trump to enter into the longest government shutdown in US history.
During the briefing, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said, "we assess that with the $8 billion, we should have sufficient money this year to do what we wanted to do with the $5.7 billion worth of money that the president asked for originally."
The president said that he anticipates some repercussions for this action, stating that after signing the decoration, "we will be sued. And we will possibly get a bad ruling. And then we’ll end up in the Supreme Court," where he expects to get a positive ruling.
Already, several Democrats are publicly opposing the declaration. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer released a joint statement in response to the announcement, saying that they will take action "in the Congress, in the Courts, and in the public."
The notion that a border wall will put an end to drug smuggling from Mexico is one that the president has touted for a long time. But, as we have we have reported several times before, there is little evidence to back that claim.
Last month, the Cato Institute, a conservative think tank based in Washington, DC, released a report in which they stated that "state marijuana legalization starting in 2014 did more to reduce marijuana smuggling than the doubling of Border Patrol agents or the construction of hundreds of miles of border fencing did from 2003 to 2009."
It has also been widely reported that the vast majority of hard drugs being smuggled into the US – around 87 percent – are from legal ports of entry.
In Trump’s view, however, this nuance does not exist.
"It’s not like its complicated – its very simple. We want to stop drugs from coming into our country," he said.