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Puerto Rico gov: We’re prepared legally if Trump diverts funds to border wall

By on January 28, 2019

SAN JUAN – Gov. Ricardo Rosselló Nevares said Monday that legal arguments are ready in case President Trump decides, via emergency declaration, to divert funds assigned for Puerto Rico to continue building the U.S.’s southern barrier with Mexico.

“We have already worked on the legal mechanisms we have amid this scenario. We see it very difficult that money appropriated by Congress, signed by the president of CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) can be used in an emergency order. Likewise are the FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] funds. There are a series of smaller programs, where the president could possibly declare an emergency and try to take those funds,” Rosselló Nevares said at a press conference.

“If he does that, he would be taking funds from Puerto Rico, California, Texas, Florida. What the president needs to be asked is if he wants to use resources for the recovery of American citizens to build a wall. I think that clearly crystallizes two positions,” he added.

On Friday, Trump agreed to reopen, until Feb. 15, the federal government to continue the discussion on the budget and funds to build the border barrier.

If Congress refuses to provide funds to construct the structure, the president has the power to declare a state of emergency and allocate funds for its construction.

So far, of the budget alternatives that are being discussed, recovery funds for Puerto Rico are not included.

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