U.S. States Sue White House over Emergency Declaration at the Border
Early Monday of this week, the 18th of February, 16 U.S. States filed lawsuits against President Donald Trump’s plan to use a declaration of emergency to secure funding for his border wall. The States hope to block the President's ability to appropriate money from other sections of the United States government and prevent him from spending over 5 billion dollars to construct the wall along the border with Mexico.
The lawsuits are the latest development in the protracted fight between the Trump Administration and the Democratic Party over the building of the border wall. After not succeeding in being able to secure funding through a congressional vote, the President demanded border funding in return for his signature on a bill to keep the government open. Democrats refused to concede to the President, resulting in the longest government shutdown in United States history, lasting more than a month.
Even after a deal was reached, without funding for Mr. Trump’s wall, the political turmoil has yet to cease. The President announced on Friday the 15th his plan to declare the influx of illegal immigration into the United States a national emergency, and use his powers to finally begin construction of the Southern border wall.
The U.S. States that have now filed lawsuits against the Trump Administration argue that the President’s declaration is both illegal and unconstitutional. They believe that his actions are, “contrary to Congress’ intent” and are misusing funds that should only be under the control of the legislative branch.
The White House has recently revealed where exactly they plan to find the funds to finance all 5 billion dollars necessary to build the border wall. 600 million will come from the Treasury Department, 2.5 billion from a military anti-drug account, and the remaining 3.6 billion will come from construction funding that was intended to be used by the armed forces.
The lawsuit filed by these 16 U.S. States aims to prove that these funds that Mr. Trump plans to use to fund his wall should not be accessible by the President of the United States. The case may be a difficult one because each State must prove that it will be individually hurt by the transfer of these funds and that its taxpayers would be injured if the border wall was built.
President Trump was quick to demean the lawsuit on Twitter, declaring that it was spearheaded by, “Open Border Democrats and the Radical Left.” However, he acknowledged that his plan was likely to face legal challenges, saying during a press conference that, “We will possibly get a bad ruling, and then we'll get another bad ruling, and then we'll end up in the Supreme Court, and hopefully we'll get a fair shake."
For one of the champions of the lawsuit, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, the wrongdoing by the President was clear. Mr. Becerra argued that “Probably the best evidence is the president’s own words, I didn’t need to do this, but I’d rather do it much faster.” For Mr. Becerra, and the leadership of the 15 other States that have gone to court against the President, the National Declaration of Emergency by the President is solely a method to bypass the will of a people who have proven time and time again that they do not support a wall.