“I’m going to be signing a national emergency,” Trump said from the Rose Garden of the White House.
“We have an invasion of drugs, invasion of gangs, invasion of people, and it’s unacceptable,” he said.
The president said he would sign the authorizing paperwork later in the day in the Oval Office.
Trump was also expected on Friday to sign a bipartisan government spending bill approved by Congress on Thursday that would prevent another partial federal government shutdown by funding several agencies that otherwise would have closed on Saturday morning.
The bill, which contains no money for his wall, is a defeat for Trump in Congress, where his demand for $5.7 billion in barrier funding yielded no results, other than a record-long, 35-day December-January partial government shutdown that damaged the U.S. economy and his opinion poll numbers.
Reorienting his wall-funding quest toward a legally uncertain strategy based on declaring a national emergency could plunge Trump into a lengthy battle with Democrats – and divide his fellow Republicans.