Republican lawmakers had hoped a deal on that measure would have helped more of them to back Trump's border emergency in Thursday's vote. Instead, several Republicans are being boxed into a thorny dilemma: defy Trump and the conservative voters who back him passionately, or assent to what many lawmakers from both parties consider a dubious and dangerous expansion of presidential authority.
A group of former US national security officials are set to release a statement arguing there is no justification for US President Donald Trump to use a national emergency declaration to fund a wall along the US-Mexico border. The statement, which was reviewed by The Associated Press, has 58 signatures from prominent former officials, including former Secretaries of State Madeline Albright and John Kerry, former Defense Secretaries Chuck Hagel and Leon Panetta and former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. "There is no factual basis for the declaration of a national emergency," the statement reads. It argues that border crossings are near a 40-year low and that there is no terrorist emergency at the border. The president maintains that a wall is needed to stem irregular immigration and the flow of illicit drugs into the country.
Democrats say there is no border crisis and Trump would be using a declaration simply to sidestep Congress. Some Republicans warn that future Democratic presidents could use his precedent to force spending on their own priorities, like gun control. GOP critics included Maine Sen. Susan Collins, who said emergency declarations are for "major natural disasters or catastrophic events" and said its use would be of "dubious constitutionality."
Trump had demanded Congress include money for the wall, one of his biggest 2016 campaign promises, in a funding bill he was expected to sign either later on Friday or Saturday. It was approved overwhelmingly by Congress late on Thursday without the wall money he wanted, a legislative defeat for him.