Trump threatens national emergency as Democrats squeeze wall funds
15 February 2019
US President Donald Trump is now threatening to declare a national emergency to circumvent Congress and get more money for his wall after the Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a massive budget that provides only a fraction of the $5.7 billion Trump sought for the border security wall.
The $333 billion legislation passed 83-16, expected to pass the House later on Thursday, could help avert a government shutdown slated to start on Saturday.
President Trump has committed to signing the legislation but said he'd also declare a national emergency to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.
While a government shutdown deal seems to have been reached, it’s still unclear whether the President will sign the deal, but reports quoting sources said it provides for more detention beds, more fencing, and more funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Instead of providing funds for the border wall, the Democrats seem to be backing a ‘smart, efficient’ border security proposal, to give Trump billions.
This means that the Democrats are conceding Trump’s calls for increased border security, but are not in favour of the border wall plan. Instead they want increased funding for DHS in “technology” spending, which, given past statements, is likely to include drones, artificial intelligence, and unspecified “cutting-edge technology”.
The Congress now looks poised to strike a bipartisan deal to avoid another shutdown.
Late last month, Democratic Party leadership released a proposal for “smart, efficient border security”. Chances are that the compromise deal will include elements from this proposal, given that Democrats too are wary of another government shutdown and the risks associated with the creation of a “smart wall” using untested, biased technology.
Such a wall will amass profits for military companies like Raytheon, tech firms like Amazon, and private prison makers like Geo Group, but do nothing to solve the humanitarian crisis at our southern border.
It will also likely lead to civil rights violations writ large – not just for migrants, but for the two-thirds of the American population who live within 100 miles of the border around the US as a whole. Eventually, surveillance technology perfected at the border could be repurposed against us all, as is often the case when new tech is rolled out first against the most vulnerable populations.