Despite the partial government shutdown amid a standoff over border funding, Congress’s in-house research arm says a wall can be built without congressional appropriation. Or a declared state of emergency (here and here).
The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service published a paper on January 10th: “Can the Department of Defense Build the Border Wall?”
In part, here’s what it says:
Another statute that authorizes the Secretary of Defense to assist civilian law enforcement with counterdrug activities may provide some authority for the construction of barriers along the border. 10 U.S.C. § 284 (Section 284) provides that the Secretary of Defense “may provide support for the counterdrug activities or activities to counter transnational organized crime” of any law enforcement agency, including through the “[c]onstruction of roads and fences and installation of lighting to block drug smuggling corridors across international boundaries of the United States.”
Use of Section 284 would not require a declaration of a national emergency under the NEA. However, the DOD’s Section 284 authority to construct fences appears to extend only to “drug smuggling corridors,” a condition that may limit where DOD could deploy fencing.
You can read the document in its entirety at fas.org.
Outside of that option, the fight continues, with Sarah Huckabee Sanders lowering the boom on “political-[game]”-playin’ Nancy Pelosi Wednesday (here). There’s a war in D.C., and it seems more bitter than ever. Will Trump stand his ground? He didn’t on the State of the Union. Personally, I don’t think he can afford to cave further. But what of another way to build the wall? Would going that route hurt his political Q, now that everyone’s dug in their heels?
What do you think? Please let us all know, in the Comments section below.
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