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Trump declares US-Mexico border emergency

US President Donald Trump declares a national emergency at the US-Mexico border during remarks about border security in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, US, February 15, 2019
President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency in a bid to fund his promised wall at the US-Mexico border without congressional approval.

The Republican president's move circumventing Congress represented a new approach to a 2016 presidential campaign pledge to halt the flow of immigrants into the country, which Trump maintains spreads crime and drugs.

He was also expected later on Friday to sign a bipartisan government spending bill Congress approved on Thursday that would prevent another partial government shutdown by funding several agencies that otherwise would have closed on Saturday.

Trump made no direct mention in his Rose Garden comments of the funding bill, which represents a legislative defeat for him since it contains no money for his proposed wall - the focus of weeks of conflict between him and Democrats in Congress.

Trump's demand that Congress provide him with $5.7 billion in wall funding as part of legislation to fund the agencies triggered a historic, 35-day December-January government shutdown.

By reorienting his wall-funding quest toward a legally uncertain strategy based on declaring a national emergency, Trump now risks plunging into a lengthy battle with Democrats and dividing his fellow Republicans.

Fifteen Democrats in the Republican-controlled Senate introduced legislation on Thursday to prevent the transfer of funds from accounts Trump likely would target to pay for the wall.