Step one: cleanse the skin?
“To be honest, it’s not a wall,” says President Donald Trump’s former chief of staff John Kelly of Trump’s signature campaign promise.
Is it a border of steel slats? Is it something that already exists?
President Trump is demanding $5.7 billion in funding for the border wall. And The Washington Post is reporting that the Trump administration requested an additional 800 million dollars for “urgent humanitarian needs” at the border.
The demand for a wall is standing in the way of reopening the government. Democrats say they won’t approve any funding for the wall, and Trump says he won’t sign a bill without it.
Congressman Will Hurd represents a large swath of the border, where the wall might be built. And he doesn’t support it.
So if Congress won’t, then who will pay for the wall?
On January 2, President Trump claimed that Mexico was, under the renegotiated trade deal between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. That’s not true; PolitiFact rated that claim “false”:
USMCA is not in effect yet. Even then, there is no provision in the free trade agreement about Mexico directly paying for the wall.
The new USMCA deal does not add new tariffs on goods coming from Mexico to the United States, an expert told us. It’s unclear how the deal will impact U.S. businesses revenues. If U.S. tax revenue increases in response to increased revenues of U.S. firms, then Congress would still have to allocate that money for the wall. That’s questionable.
Would it be possible, as the president has suggested, to declare a national emergency to get funding for the wall?
NBC quoted a law professor who said that we were in “uncharted territory” regarding using emergency funding for the wall.
But The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday morning that Trump was “was undecided on whether to declare a national emergency over border security.”
We’re deconstructing the symbolism and the reality of the wall.
- Annie Karni White House correspondent, New York Times @anniekarni
- Alan Bersin Global fellow, Wilson Center; Senior fellow, Belfer Center at Harvard Kennedy School; former U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner 2010-2011.
- Nick Miroff Washington Post reporter covering immigration enforcement, drug trafficking and national security. @nickmiroff
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Preet Bharara is the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.