Sunday, August 25, 2019

Trump plans to declare national emergency in order to impose tariffs on Mexico

President Trump is planning to declare a new national emergency in order to implement sweeping tariffs on Mexico over the flow of Central American migrants to the U.S., according to a draft document of the declaration reviewed by The Hill.

According to the document, the new emergency is necessary due to “the failure of the Government of Mexico to take effective action to reduce the mass migration of aliens illegally crossing into the United States through Mexico.” The declaration would follow a February emergency declaration, which Trump used to justify sending National Guard troops to support Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials at the southern border.

The draft document signals that the White House believes that imposing the tariffs under the February emergency declaration might not pass legal muster. Officials from the White House counsel’s office and the Justice Department floated the idea of a new declaration this week during a closed-door meeting with Republican senators.

The White House has said it plans to impose the tariffs under the 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which allows the president to take unilateral action to counter an “unusual and extraordinary threat” in times of national emergency. But a new national emergency is likely to spark widespread opposition on Capitol Hill from Republicans and Democrats who say Trump is overstepping his tariff authority and could also draw fresh legal challenges.

Last week, Trump threatened to impose a 5 percent tariff on all Mexican goods crossing into the United States, which would increase by another 5 percent every subsequent month, capping at 25 percent in October. “The United States Government has repeatedly asked the Government of Mexico to take responsibility and help reduce this mass migration. Yet the Government of Mexico has failed to take sufficient action to alleviate this problem, has allowed this mass incursion to increase, and has failed to secure its own southern border,” reads the draft.

Democrats and some key Republicans who have voiced opposition to the tariffs have said they may take legislative action in an attempt to stop them. “If the President does declare a national emergency and attempt to put these tariffs into place, I will introduce a resolution of disapproval to stop his overreach,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) in a press release Thursday.

THE HILL