By TODD STACY, Alabama Daily News
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Two North Alabama Congressman say President Trump would be well within his authority to declare a national emergency in order to construct a wall along unsecured parts of the southern border.
Reps. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., and Mo Brooks R-Ala., said they would support the president if that’s what he decides. Trump’s State of the Union address comes as Congress is still bitterly divided over whether to fund his $5.7 billion request for barriers and security upgrades along the Mexican border.
In interviews with Alabama Daily News on Capitol Hill Tuesday, Aderholt and Brooks agreed that Congress is unlikely to send wall money to the president’s desk.
“I’m not sure it’s going to happen through the legislative process. ” Aderholt said. “I think the president is going to have to look to some other process.”
Aderholt is a veteran member of the the House Appropriations Committee. Currently, a conference committee of appropriators the the House and Senate is negotiating a Homeland Security funding bill, though there has been no indication of an imminent agreement.
“The president is dug in that he wants the wall, and I just don’t see how the Democrats are willing to compromise, even a dollar. There’s a joke about Nancy Pelosi saying she’d give one dollar to the wall, but I’m not sure she’d even give that much.”
Aderholt said Trump has the authority to declare a national emergency if Congress won’t act.
“I agree with the president that this is a national security issue. His number one task is to protect the nation, and at some point we have to get a handle on what’s happening on the border.
“My understanding after looking at the U.S. Code is the president has the ability to call a national emergency if he feels like this rises to that level.”
Section 2808 of the Title 10 U.S. Code pertaining to military construction if the president declares an emergency “that requires use of the armed forces,” the Defense Secretary “may undertake military construction projects, and may authorize the Secretaries of the military departments to undertake military construction projects, not otherwise authorized by law that are necessary to support such use of the armed forces.”
Brooks, a fierce advocate for boosting border security, said he hopes the president will focus on illegal immigration’s impact on public safety.
“If the president can get the message across on why border security is so important to American lives, then the Democrats will fold like a cheap suit. But right now, they’ve been able to manipulate public opinion through false propaganda.”
When it comes to a a national emergency declaration, Brooks said the president is well within his rights.
“He should have done it two years ago,” he said.
“He’s been too patient with the Democrats. We need to stop relying on the Democrats to support border security because they don’t believe in it and they’re never going to do it.
Brooks compared the cumulative effect of illegal immigration with the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
“Think about this for a second: how many people died that cause us to invade Iraq and Afghanistan?” Brooks asked, claiming that thousands die every year due to drugs and violence related to illegal immigration.
“I think it’s a no brainer.”