According to NPR, Trump made the announcement from the White House Rose Garden, calling the move "a great thing to do," and explaining that he made the decision because of "an invasion of our country with drugs, with human traffickers, with all types of criminals and gangs."
"One of the things I said I have to do and I want to do is border security because we have tremendous amounts of drugs flowing into our country, much of it coming from the southern border," Trump also said in his declaration.
"When you look and when you listen to politicians, in particular certain Democrats, they say it all comes through the port of entry. It's wrong. It's just a lie. It's all a lie. They say walls don't work. Walls work 100 percent," the President went on to say.
President Trump Speaks on the National Security & Humanitarian Crisis on Our Southern Border //t.co/FqdfFORbv5— The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 15, 2019
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have since issued a joint statement on Trump's announcement, criticizing his motives and vowing to fight against it.
"The President's unlawful declaration over a crisis that does not exist does great violence to our Constitution and makes America less safe, stealing from urgently needed defense funds for the security of our military and our nation. This is plainly a power grab by a disappointed President, who has gone outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process," the statement read.
Many others have also questioned the validity of declaring an emergency in order to acquire funding for the border wall, with White House reporter Brian J. Karem tweeting, "All I am asking is to provide me with the facts to justify the national emergency. Those supplied by the government don't back it up. Can you please share your facts with the rest of us Mr. President? If they justify your stance. Okay."
"President Trump has declared a state of #NationalEmergency—& every American who believes in the Constitution & the separation of powers should be angry," added Senator Patty Murray. "This isn't the way our gov't is supposed to work & I'm going to stand w/ everyone who is concerned by this. We will fight back."
According to White House officials, the emergency declaration will allow the current administration to have access to roughly $8 billion for construction on the border wall. This amount includes the $1.375 billion in funding that was allotted by a bill that Congress passed on Thursday.