The President of United States (U.S.) – Donald Trump has said that he is not happy with the deal struck by the congressional negotiators on border security, as the deal doesn’t completely provide him the much-needed funds for his promised U.S. – Mexican border wall.
The agreed deal includes funding in tune of U.S. $ 1.375 billion for the border barrier. This is U.S. $ 5.7 billion less than what he had originally demanded. These funds can finance 55 miles of the 2,000 miles of the fencing. The barrier would come up in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas and would use existing designs, such as metal slats, instead of the concrete wall that Trump had demanded.
The Republicans have urged him to accept the deal. Trump has not rejected the deal uprightly but has ruled out the chances of a shutdown, even in case the funding agreement is not satisfactory. Besides, he also hinted at exploring other sources for funding the border wall.
Trump believes that the wall at Mexico border is necessary to fight against illegal immigration and drug trafficking. But the Democrats find the wall expensive, ineffective and immoral.
Speaking on the deal and future funding options, Donald Trump said, “I can’t say I’m happy, I can’t say I’m thrilled. I’m adding things to it. It’s all going to happen, where we’re going to build a beautiful, big, strong wall.”
Republican Senator – Richard Shelby said, “We got an agreement on all of it. Our staffs are going to be working feverishly to put all the particulars together. We believe that if this becomes law, it’ll keep open the government.”
Options available with Trump
Treasury Forfeiture Fund
The first option available with Trump is to withdraw a sum of U.S. $ 680 million from Treasury Forfeiture Fund. This would not require him to declare national emergency. The Treasury Forfeiture Fund includes unobligated funds from various participating agencies, which can be utilized for law enforcement.
The President can also use U.S. $ 2 million from Pentagon Funds, under U.S. Code 284 to divert funds for countering narcotics in the country. This would also not require declaring a national emergency. However, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) needs to exercise a waiver for transferring funds for the construction of fencing that prevents entry of drugs in the U.S.
Military Construction Fund
Thirdly, he can apply U.S. Code 2808 for using Military Construction Funds in tune of U.S. $ 3.6 billion. However, this would require the President to declare national emergency. He would have to declare the border fencing activity as a mission assigned to the Department of Defense.
Army Corps Civil Works Fund
Another option is to use the Army Corps Civil Works Funds, under U.S. Code 2293, which would give him U.S. $ 3 billion. In this case, he must declare a national emergency. The Secretary of the Army has the right to stop or defer the ongoing Army civil works projects and use those funds for developing civil defense, for national emergency.
What happened earlier?
In order to make the Congress approve U.S. $ 5.7 billion for his promised wall, in December 2018, Trump tried to pressurize the Congress by refusing to sign off on the funding of large parts of Government, which have nothing to do with the wall. This resulted in the 5 weeks Shutdown.