The White House has begun making preparations for President Donald Trump to exercise his national emergency powers in service of building his long-promised wall on the southern U.S. border, according to documents reviewed by CNN.
Trump has previously indicated that he might use such powers to bypass Congress and begin work on the wall — funding for which has not been authorized by lawmakers.
"The massive amount of aliens who unlawfully enter the United States each day is a direct threat to the safety and security of our nation and constitutes a national emergency," a draft of a presidential proclamation reads.
"Now, therefore, I, Donald J. Trump, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C 1601, et seq.), hereby declare that a national emergency exists at the southern border of the United States," the draft adds.
To obtain money for the project, the administration would pull funds from various areas:
According to options being considered, the administration could pull: $681 million from treasury forfeiture funds, $3.6 billion in military construction, $3 billion in Pentagon civil works funds, and $200 million in Department of Homeland Security funds, the official said.
The White House is reportedly split over whether taking this step would be wise, particularly in that legal challenges are guaranteed.
The question of legality and court challenges is still one of the main hang-ups in using executive action to secure the wall funding. Trump's advisers have cautioned that taking that route would lead to certain legal challenge, meaning the wall construction would still be delayed.