• Martín O'Hara, Esq.

16 States Sue Trump Over Border Wall Emergency Declaration

On February 18, 2019, a coalition of sixteen states filed a lawsuit challenging President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency and his attempt to divert funding appropriated by Congress for other purposes. According to a press release issued by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra's office, the sixteen states contend that "the Trump Administration’s emergency declaration and diversion of funds is unconstitutional and otherwise unlawful. The states seek to block the Trump Administration’s emergency declaration, the unauthorized construction of the border wall, and any illegal diversion of Congressionally-appropriated funds."


The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges that the Trump Administration’s action declaring a national emergency due to a purported border crisis is unlawful and unconstitutional. President Trump’s hyped crisis is a pretext to justify redirecting congressionally-appropriated funds to pay to build a wall along the southern border after he failed to get Congress — or Mexico — to pay for it. The facts do not support President Trump’s rhetoric or his declaration. Unlawful southern border entries are at their lowest point in 20 years, immigrants are less likely than native-born citizens to commit crimes, and illegal drugs are more likely to come through official ports of entry. There is no credible evidence to suggest that a border wall would decrease crime rates.


The states allege that the Trump Administration’s action exceeds the power of the executive office, violates the U.S. Constitution and federal statutes, and would illegally and unconstitutionally divert federal funds appropriated by Congress for other purposes. The suit seeks declaratory and injunctive relief to block the emergency declaration, the construction of the wall, and any illegal diversion of congressionally-appropriated funds. 


In addition to California, the other states that have sued the Trump Administration are: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai'i, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada,New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Virginia.


A copy of the press release, as well as the complaint, can be found here: https://oag.ca.gov/news/press-releases/governor-newsom-attorney-general-becerra-and-15-partner-states-file-lawsuit.

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