As discussion of President Trump’s plan for a wall between the United States and Mexico continues, the administration has considered new ideas to fund the project. One option is to declare a national state of emergency and divert funds already allocated for disaster relief to the construction of the wall.
The Army Corps of Engineers received 13.9 billion dollars in funds to help rebuild not only in Puerto Rico but also in California, Texas, Florida, and other states affected by natural disasters. CBS News reported that the White House has asked the Corps to examine the possibility, and that the option will be presented to the president for consideration.
Puerto Rican leaders have responded to the idea very negatively.
Resident Commissioner Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon spoke out against the idea of redirecting these funds, saying, “I cannot and will not support reallocating funding we approved in a bipartisan effort in Congress for the recovery and reconstruction of Puerto Rico.” She pointed out that $2.5 billion in disaster recovery funds have been allocated but not yet provided to Puerto Rico, even though Hurricane Maria hit the Island in the fall of 2017. “Their lives are still in peril,” she wrote of the residents of Puerto Rico, “and I will defend their security and well-being.”
Governor Ricardo Rossello shared his thoughts on Twitter, tweeting, “No wall should be funded on the pain and suffering of US citizens who have endured tragedy and loss through a natural disaster.” The governor produced a string of tweets opposing the idea.
Congressional Rep Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), who was born and grew up in Puerto Rico, made a statement calling the idea “wholly unacceptable.”
Vice-president Mike Pence said that no decision has been made.