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Expand chart
Data: Brennan Center for Justice; Note: The chart reflects primary emergency declarations, not those amending existing emergencies; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon, Chris Canipe/Axios

President Trump's decision Friday to declare a national emergency is the latest in a series of emergencies that are used for international crises or urgent domestic dangers.

Why it matters: Most experts agree that Trump's use of a national emergency is a legally questionable use of emergency powers. The Brennan Center for Justice has found 123 emergency powers the president can invoke. There are one or two powers that Trump could use that are related to military construction.

  • Those emergency construction powers have only been used twice: by George H.W. Bush during the Gulf War and then by George W. Bush after 9/11. Those orders aren't listed in the graphic because they were just amendments to earlier emergency declarations.

The backstory: Over the past 40 years, the National Emergencies Act has become a common tool for U.S. presidents to quickly enact foreign sanctions, especially when their views conflict with Congress. Of the 58 national emergencies in the data, 44 have been foreign sanctions.

Some examples:

Other uses of emergency powers:

  • In response to clashes between U.S. and Cuban vessels, Clinton invoked a power allowing the Transportation Department to better regulate the movement and inspection of ships.
  • During the H1N1 virus outbreak in 2009, Obama allowed the Department of Health and Human Services to modify or waive some Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP requirements to implement emergency plans.
  • To stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, Clinton empowered the Commerce Department to control any exports that could aid countries in producing those weapons.

Go deeper: What's next on the wall showdown

Go deeper

Scoop: Border officials project 13,000 child migrants in May

The "El Chaparral" border crossing at Tijuana. Photo: Stringer/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

A Customs and Border Protection staffer told top administration officials Thursday the agency is projecting a peak of 13,000 unaccompanied children crossing the border in May, sources directly familiar with the discussion told Axios.

Why it matters: That projection would exceed the height of the 2019 crisis, which led to the infamous "kids-in-cages" disaster. It also underscores a rapidly escalating crisis for the Biden administration.

6 hours ago - World

U.S. strikes Iran-backed militia facilities in Syria

President Biden at the Pentagon on Feb. 10. Photo: Alex Brandon - Pool/Getty Images

The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to an Iran-backed militia group, the Pentagon announced.

The state of play: The strike, approved by President Biden, comes "in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement.

Senate parliamentarian rules $15 minimum wage cannot be included in relief package

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The Senate parliamentarian ruled Thursday that the provision to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour cannot be included in the broader $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

Why it matters: It's now very likely that any increase in the minimum wage will need bipartisan support, as the provision cannot be passed with the simple Senate majority that Democrats are aiming to use for President Biden's rescue bill.