California has filed lawsuit to bar President Trump from using emergency powers to fund the border wall; 16 other states including New York quickly followed suit.
The lawsuit comes after President Trump announced his intention to spend more money on the protective barrier than Congress had allotted. This is part of the ongoing controversy over illegal immigration and the creation of a strong, impervious barrier to protect residents and citizens in border states.
The lawsuit that started in California has triggered a constitutional showdown. The suit was filed in San Francisco’s Federal District Court, and alleges that the president should not be permitted to expand funding for the wall; the plaintiff claims that the power to increase spending resides with Congress.
The lawsuit, filed February 15, says the states included are attempting to protect their “residents, natural resources and economic interests”. It goes on:
“Contrary to the will of Congress, the president has used the pretext of a manufactured ‘crisis’ of unlawful immigration to declare a national emergency and redirect federal dollars appropriated for drug interdiction, military construction and law enforcement initiatives toward building a wall on the United States-Mexico border.”
Congress is also contesting the president’s move to create the wall. The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives also has the option to bring a lawsuit against the State of Emergency declaration.
A total of 16 states have joined the lawsuit – all but one have Democrat-led legislatures and Governors. The states include: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Virginia.
The national emergency declaration is designed to speed the building of the wall by bypassing roadblocks put into place by Congress. This comes after a compromise that granted only $1.3 billion for border security and barriers — not enough to build the wall itself in its entirety.
Other resources could be brought to bear to pay for the wall, including $600 million from the Department of the Treasury earmarked for law enforcement and another $2 billion plus dedicated to drug enforcement. Both violence and drug trafficking are directly associated with illegal immigration from the border, so these funds could be deployed for this purpose.
According to the New York Times, presidents have enacted emergency powers dozens of times since the program’s inception in 1976. Previous uses of the powers have led to controversy and protests, but no actual lawsuits until now.
The president is moving forward with plans to fund the wall on an emergency basis because of the ongoing threat from immigrants illegally entering the country. The ongoing debate over illegal immigration will continue to make headlines as the wall hangs in the balance and multiple states attempt to block funding for this key Trump initiative. No hearing date has been set for the already-filed state suits.
~ Patriotic Freedom Fighter