California Leads 16 States in Lawsuit Against President’s Emergency Declaration

  • Mar 5 2019

California is just one of 16 states that have filed a lawsuit in order to block President Trump’s attempt to fund a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border by declaring a national emergency. The coalition has called it a “flagrant disregard of fundamental separation of powers principles.”

The lawsuit is not the first to challenge the president’s use of a emergency powers. In fact, the complaint, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for Northern California, is the third legal challenge. Along with the coalition of states, Public Citizen, a liberal advocacy group, filed in Washington D.C. on behalf of three landowners in Texas who would be negatively impacted by the building of the wall along the border. Additionally, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics filed a motion against the Department of Justice ordering that it provide documents relevant to the emergency declaration’s legal justification.

As for California and the other 15 states behind the same lawsuit believe that federal dollars were greatly misappropriated funds intended to be used for military construction, law enforcement initiatives, and drug interdiction, by using them to instead build a wall on the border. They say that using the pretext of an unlawful immigration “crisis” was unlawful. The states involved in the lawsuit all have Democratic governors in common.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is leading the states coalition, has stated that President Trump “has veered the country toward a constitutional crisis of his own making” despite the fact that even Congress has refused to help allocate the funds to start building the wall. Becerra has said that Trump’s emergency declaration had no legal backing and the he “didn’t need to do this.”

The lawsuit argues, “There is no objective basis” for this national emergency – especially since unlawful entry into the U.S. has hit a 45-year low. It also elaborates that by taking away millions of dollars for the wall, the states, which would lose money for military construction projects, would hurt state economies. It goes on to say that California and New Mexico, the states right on the border would experience “irreparable environmental damage.”

Over the last few years, California has a history of lawsuits defying the administration. The states that join California in this complaint include Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Virginia.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has said that the situation is “immoral and illegal.” New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal echoed Letitia’s sentiment in a statement. “The real national emergency is a President who refuses to adhere to the rule of law. In its effort to cater to a select few on the right, this Administration is trampling on our Constitution and circumventing the will of Congress.”

The White House has stated that Trump will veto any resolutions attempting to undo his declared national emergency. This will prove difficult to overcome, as defeating a presidential veto requires two-third majority vote in both the House and the Senate.

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Posted in: Immigration Law