President Donald Trump is set to travel to the southern border Thursday as he continues to make his case for building a barrier along the southern border amid an ongoing partial government shutdown triggered by the president’s demand for a border wall.
The White House has said the president’s trip is designed to allow him to meet with those individuals who are “on the front lines” of what they have called a “national security and humanitarian crisis.”
The White House has provided few details about Thursday’s trip, citing security considerations.
The White House has struggled to make the case that there is, in fact, a crisis at the border, with the number of illegal apprehensions trending downward over the last two decades. But the administration points to an uptick of illegal border crossing apprehensions in recent months as evidence.
Trump’s visit comes after negotiations between the president and Senate Democrats broke down in a contentious, 14-minute meeting that ended with the president walking out of the room after Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would not agree to fund the president’s wall if he agreed to reopen the government.
The president said he continues to weigh the possibility of declaring a national emergency as a way to circumvent Congress and have the military construct the border wall, but Trump has yet to make a final decision on whether to follow through with that.
The question of whether the president has the legal authority to build a wall through a national emergency declaration remains an open question and is under review by White House lawyers. Should the president go forward with the move, it would almost certainly be challenged in court.