Trump to declare national emergency for border wall. We’re already under 31 others

President Donald Trump is set to declare a national emergency to receive funding for his proposed border wall on the U.S.-Mexico border — which would make it the 32nd national emergency that’s now in place.

You might be thinking, “Wait, what?” But it’s true.

According to the Brennan Center for Justice, presidents have declared 58 states of emergency dating back to 1979 — 31 of which are still active today.

Congress passed the National Emergencies Act in 1976, codifying what powers a president can employ after declaring one following years of constitutional confusion, The Atlantic reported. The act limits states of emergency to one year, but allows them to be renewed annually.

President Jimmy Carter declared the first national emergency under the act in 1979 to freeze Iran’s assets in the United States during the hostage crisis, the Brennan Center for Justice reports. It was most recently renewed in November.

Many subsequent emergency declarations suspended assets, trade or other transactions with nations ranging from Libya to Panama, though most have lapsed after regime changes in those countries, according to the center.

Of the 31 emergencies which remain in effect, others deal with efforts to curb nuclear proliferation, drug trafficking and terrorism, the Brennan Center says.

President George W. Bush declared 13 states of emergency and President Barack Obama 12, CNN reported. Most are still in effect.

Trump has so far declared three national emergencies since taking office in January 2017, the Brennan Center says. They concern human rights abuses, attempts to influence U.S. elections and Nicaragua’s “use of indiscriminate violence and repressive tactics against civilians.”

Trump had said he’d declare a national emergency over the opioid crisis but instead declared a public-health emergency, Pacific Standard reported.

Trump began his presidential campaign by vowing to build a wall on the the country’s southern border to stop illegal immigration. The president had demanded $5.7 billion of funding for a wall on the border, but congressional Democrats refused to provide any funding for a wall after retaking the House of Representatives.

That led to a 35-day partial government shutdown, which was the longest in U.S. history. That shutdown finally ended on Jan. 25, after Trump announced he had reached a deal to reopen the government until Feb. 15 with no border wall funding.

A deal was reached this week to provide $1.375 billion for border barriers — but none for a wall, according to The Hill.

Now, Trump plans to receive the funding by declaring a national emergency, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced, according to CBS.

“President Trump will sign the government funding bill, and as he has stated before, he will also take other executive action -- including a national emergency -- to ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border,” the statement said, according to CBS. “The President is once again delivering on his promise to build the wall, protect the border, and secure our great country.”

Real-Time reporter Josh Magness covers breaking national news and trending news to keep readers of McClatchy’s newspapers up to date with the latest high-profile stories. He previously interned at McClatchy’s bureau in Washington, D.C, while covering the U.S. Congress.