A protest against Donald Trump’s declaration of a “national emergency”, held outside the Trump Tower, New York City (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)
Sixteen US states file a federal lawsuit to block Donald Trump’s declaration of a “national emergency” to build his Wall with Mexico, bypassing Congress to take money from the military.
The states are seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent the diversion of funds and construction of The Wall.
The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for Northern California, which has ruled against other Trump Administration orders, including the “Muslim Ban” on entry into the US and over immigration and the environment.
The states say that, facing an “unconstitutional and unlawful scheme”, they are trying “to protect their residents, natural resources, and economic interests from President Donald J. Trump’s flagrant disregard of fundamental separation of powers principles engrained in the United States Constitution”.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, leader of the coalition,California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D), leader of the states coalition, said:
You wouldn’t expect to celebrate Presidents’ Day this way, but we do what you got to do. In this case, we are having to commemorate…by protesting, whether marching in the street or marching into court.
The complaint said the diversion of money violates the separation of powers defined in the Constitution, where financial authority resides in Congress. It asserts that money cannot be paid from the US Treasury unless it is authorized by legislators.
The White House intends to take about $6.6 billion from agencies for border barriers that include The Wall. About $2.5 billion will come from the military’s counter-narcotics programs and $3.6 billion from military construction projects.
Last week, in the bipartisan bill to avoid another Trump Shutdown of the Federal Government, $1.375 billion was authorized for barriers — but not a penny for The Wall.
The lawsuit notes Trump’s false statements that there is an “invasion of the US”, with the President saying Government reports that establish otherwise are “lies”:
The Federal Government’s own data prove there is no national emergency at the southern border that warrants construction of a wall. Customs and Border Protection data show that unlawful entries are near 45-year lows.
The states participating in the suit are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Virginia.
Multiple Court Battles
Within hours of Trump’s declaration, a lawsuit was filed in Texas on behalf of a nature reserve and local landowners.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has sued the Justice Department, accusing it of failing to provide documents related to the declaration. The Center for Biological Diversity’s legal complaint says Trump has failed to identify a legal authority for the emergency, and is arguing that a border barrier will prevent wildlife from being able to move in their natural habitat, which “could result in the extirpation of jaguars, ocelots, and other endangered species within the United States”.
The American Civil Liberties Union said it is preparing a lawsuit arguing that Trump cannot legally redirect taxpayer money during an “emergency” unless it is for military construction projects that support the armed forces.