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Former pentagon official says national emergency declaration will face legal challenges

The Washington skyline is seen on day 19 of a partial government shutdown on the morning after President Donald Trump used a prime-time TV address from the Oval Office to urge congressional Democrats to relent on their opposition to his proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. From left are the Lincoln Memorial, the Washingtonton Monument, and the U.S. Capitol. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

While government workers wonder when their next paycheck will come, others wonder whether declaring a national emergency for border funding is actually legal.

A former pentagon official who currently works in Kalamazoo, thinks declaring a national emergency for a border wall would give the executive branch too much power.

He also thinks it brings attention to an important question - what exactly is a national emergency? Some people in Kalamazoo are wondering the same thing.

Brad Jodoin's father is a federal employee who's not getting paid right now because of the partial shutdown. He doesn't think a border wall qualifies as a national emergency

"It's technically within his rights. It doesn't seem like an emergency to me seeing border crossings really low especially since 2000 when they were really high," he said.

Michael McDaniel was a deputy assistant secretary for homeland defense under the Obama Administration and is now an associate dean at WMU Cooley Law School.

He said if Trump declares a national emergency he would have access to a variety of funds, including money from the military and Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"You're creating new precedent when you do this. There has not been use of a national emergency declaration and then funds domestically, except for short periods of time," McDaniel said.

The Trump Administration has said the border wall is needed to keep out terrorists and the situation in Mexico has gotten worse, McDaniel argues a national emergency is typically declared for very specific situations. He said president trump's reasoning does not fit that criteria and believes this move would be challenged by federal courts and immigration groups.

"If they can't do it, if at some point they just can't do it, this is a 15 minute meeting. If they can't do it, I will declare a national emergency. I have the absolute right to do it. I'll be sued and it will be brought to the 9th circuit and then hopefully we will win at the Supreme Court," President Trump said.

According to a New York Times report white house officials have considered diverting emergency aid from storm- and fire-ravaged places like Puerto Rico, Florida and California to build a border wall. Lawyers say this could happen under an emergency declaration.

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