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Donald Trump May Consider Declaring National Emergency To Build Border Wall

Trump, as he often has, claimed erroneously that "Large sections of WALL have already been built with much more either under construction or ready to go."

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President Donald Trump speaks during a discussion of "fighting human trafficking on the southern border" with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, center, and International Network of Hearts President Alma Tucker at the White House in Washington, Feb. 1, 2019.

U.S. President Donald Trump said Friday that he would consider declaration of a national emergency as the path forward to building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border because he didn’t think lawmakers’ negotiations would produce the necessary funds.

“We will be looking at a national emergency because I don’t think anything is going to happen. I think Democrats don’t want border security. And when I hear them talking about the fact that walls are immoral, walls don’t work — they know they work,” Trump said.

On Thursday, the president called bipartisan congressional talks over border wall funding a “waste of time.”

‘I’ve set the table’

In a White House interview with The New York Times on Thursday, Trump again hinted he might declare a national emergency in order to bypass Congress and build the wall without its approval.

Nancy Pelosi, Border
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., talks to reporters on Capitol Hill, Jan. 24, 2019. VOA

“I’ll continue to build the wall and we’ll get the wall finished. Now, whether or not I declare a national emergency, that you’ll see … I’ve set the table, I’ve set the stage for doing what I’m going to do.”

If within two weeks lawmakers can’t reach a deal on border security that Trump would sign, there could be another government shutdown.

If Trump does declare a national emergency, Democrats who don’t want any money for a border wall will probably immediately challenge Trump in court.

The president had strong words for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has repeatedly said she will not agree to give Trump the $5.7 billion he wants for a wall.

Border Security
Members of a U.S Army engineering brigade place concertina wire around an encampment near the U.S.-Mexico international bridge, Nov. 4, 2018, in Donna, Texas. VOA

“I think Nancy Pelosi is hurting our country very badly by doing what she’s doing,” Trump said, adding that while he has always gotten along with her, “I don’t think I will anymore.”

Pelosi has said she is open to other kinds of barriers along the border, but Trump said alternatives were unacceptable.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon said it was sending an additional 3,500 troops to the U.S. southern border with Mexico to assist with security measures.

Rep. Adam Smith, the Washington state Democrat who is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, released the latest troop numbers after slamming the Pentagon’s lack of transparency in a letter to acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan.

A defense official confirmed that the Pentagon was sending 3,500 additional active-duty troops to the border, for a total of 5,800 active-duty troops and 2,300 National Guard troops supporting the Department of Homeland Security’s request for additional border security.

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President Donald Trump speaks during a tour as he reviews border wall prototypes in San Diego, March 13, 2018. VOA

The official, who spoke to VOA on condition of anonymity, added that this “initial pop” in the number of troops would not be sustained through September.

How they’ll be used

Some of these 3,500 will be replacing troops who will be leaving soon, while others are being assigned to the border for only 30 or 60 days in order to set up large coils of barbed wire in specific areas, according to the official.

Without giving details, Trump tweeted Thursday: “More troops being sent to the Southern Border to stop the attempted Invasion of Illegals, through large caravans, into our Country. We have stopped the previous Caravans, and we will stop these also. With a Wall it would be soooo much easier and less expensive.”

Trump, as he often has, claimed erroneously that “Large sections of WALL have already been built with much more either under construction or ready to go.” The U.S. has been repairing existing barriers, which Trump called “a very big part of the plan to finally, after many decades, properly Secure Our Border. The Wall is getting done one way or the other!”

Also Read: White House Challenges Democrats To Prove Their Commitment To Border Security

At various times, Trump has called the barriers at the border an impenetrable concrete wall, and other times “steel slats,” or a see-through barrier.

On Thursday, though, Trump said, “Let’s just call them WALLS from now on and stop playing political games! A WALL is a WALL!” (VOA)

Next Story

Here’s why Americans Prefer Single-Family Homes

Are Americans Ready to Let Go of Single-Family Homes?

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Homes
This is a great way for (homeowners) to rent out their basement, or rent out half their homes. VOA

By Dora Mekouar

For decades, many Americans have viewed owning their own home as a tangible symbol of the American Dream. But the question of whether that dream includes dividing one single-family home into two — along with other higher housing density options — is about to be tested in a handful of states nationwide.

Virginia is one of the latest states to tackle the affordable housing crisis by considering zoning rules to allow denser — and, potentially, more affordable — housing, in any area now zoned for single-family homes.

“If a property owner feels it fits their need to upgrade to a duplex from a single family’s owned property, then they will go about it through a local approval process,” says Virginia House Delegate Ibraheem Samirah, who represents a district in suburban Washington, D.C. “After the local approval process is completed, then they can create their two families’ owned property as they see fit.”

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Virginia lawmakers are considering a proposal that would allow an accessory dwelling, for example, a separate structure, basement apartment or garage apartment, on lots zoned for single homes. VOA

Samirah introduced a bill to allow duplex homes, like townhouses and cottages, in any place that’s currently zoned for single-family homes. The specifics of what those multi-family properties would look like will be left to local governments. The bill does not ban single-family homes.

It’s the kind of move toward creating more affordable housing that’s already been introduced on the West Coast of the United States. Oregon was the first state in the country to ban restrictive single-family zoning in July 2019.

Planning experts and local officials say suburban sprawl has negative impacts on the environment, puts a heavier burden on local services, isolates people, and excludes lower income households and households with people of color from certain communities through economic means.

Homes
In Virginia, builder Carrington Homes offers an accessory dwelling unit, a second living unit (left), as an option for their new homes. VOA

A 2019 Harvard housing report found a “relative lack of smaller, more affordable new homes.” The same report finds that about half of all renter households nationwide spend almost one-third of their income on housing.

But the move away from single-family zoning won’t be an easy one.

“At some level, that development pattern is really uniquely American,” says Robert Parker, executive director of the Institute for Policy Research and Engagement at the University of Oregon.

“People who have lived, and grew up, in low-density suburban developments have a strong preference for that. They can’t really envision a future that’s substantially different than that.”

The size of the average house has more than doubled since the 1950s. In 2019, the average size of a new single-family home was 240 square meters (2,584 square feet), according to the National Association of Homebuilders.

Americans clearly like their space. But millennials — people in their mid-20s to late 30s who make up the nation’s largest living generation — have their own ideas about what the ideal home looks like, according to a Portland, Oregon-area survey cited by Parker.

Homes
Christine Minnehan sweeps up in front of her “granny flat” located in the backyard of her Sacramento, Calif home . VOA

“Eighty percent of them would prefer to live in a detached, single-family residence, and so it really begins to become a matter of scale and amenity,” Parker says. “A lot of those those younger households are really looking for smaller units in walkable neighborhoods and, increasingly, the development community is beginning to recognize that and thinking about ways that they can build those environments.”

Samirah, the Virginia delegate, expects some pushback from people who are worried their neighborhoods could become less desirable, but he says correctly organizing density can benefit property owners, including those who are struggling financially.

“People think it’s going to be a major shift in the landscape of suburbia. I think that’s a false narrative,” Samirah says. “This is a great way for (homeowners) to rent out their basement, or rent out half their house, or whatever it may be…If you’re thinking of retiring, instead of selling your house and moving out to another area, it also helps them keep their families in place.”

“You can have a mixture of densities that’s not detrimental to a set of lifestyles that people hold very dear, that will allow housing choice for households that are struggling to find housing that’s affordable to them in environments that are conducive to the lifestyles that they would like to lead,” Parker says.

Also Read- 2000-2019: The Hottest Decade Measured

He adds that the suburban way of life isn’t going anywhere in the near future.

“There’s little that we can do to retrofit suburbia moving forward so that land use pattern is pretty well ingrained and it’s going to be there for generations.” (VOA)