Saturday, February 16, 2019

WASHINGTON—President Trump declared a national emergency Friday over border security, bypassing Congress to divert money from elsewhere in the government to pay for additional barriers along the southern border, a move likely to ignite immediate court challenges.

Mr. Trump also signed a bipartisan spending bill that will keep the government funded through the fall and allocates $1.38 billion for 55 miles of border barriers—far less than the $5.7 billion the president had asked for.

Unsatisfied with the amount set aside by lawmakers for barriers, Mr. Trump now plans to also draw roughly $6.7 billion from military and other sources, without the approval of Congress.

In remarks at the White House, Mr. Trump defended the actions as critical to national security.

“We’re talking about an invasion of our country,” he said. At another point, however, he suggested an emergency declaration wasn’t necessary. “I didn’t need to do this, but I’d rather do it much faster,” he said.

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