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16 states sue Trump over emergency wall declaration

Written by The Associated Press | Feb 19, 2019 4:21 AM
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FILE PHOTO: In this Feb. 15, 2019, file photo, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, right, accompanied by Gov. Gavin Newsom. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

(Sacramento, Calif.) -- California and 15 other states filed a lawsuit Monday against President Donald Trump's emergency declaration to fund a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra released a statement Monday saying the suit alleges the Trump administration's action violates the Constitution.

"President Trump treats the rule of law with utter contempt," Becerra said. "He knows there is no border crisis, he knows his emergency declaration is unwarranted, and he admits that he will likely lose this case in court."

Joining California in filing the lawsuit are the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Virginia. All the states involved in the lawsuit have Democratic attorneys general.

Trump declared a national emergency to fulfill his promise of completing the wall.

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President Donald Trump speaks during an event in the Rose Garden at the White House to declare a national emergency in order to build a wall along the southern border, Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

The move allows the president to bypass Congress to use money from the Pentagon and other budgets.

Pennsylvania is not part of the suit, but state Attorney General Josh Shapiro issued a statement last night.

"Congress has allocated tens of millions of dollars to our Commonwealth that could be diverted for this fictional emergency--but the federal government has not yet provided clear guidance on their funding sources. As we learn more, I will continue to work with the Wolf Administration and our Congressional delegation to prevent harm to Pennsylvania,' he said. "Congress and the President must act to fix our broken immigration system, but I will not allow essential funding for Pennsylvania to be held hostage in the process. By the President's own admission, this declaration is not necessary--and it's Congress' job to determine its validity. My job as Attorney General is to uphold the rule of law, and I will not hesitate to take legal action if our Commonwealth loses out on any money we have been allocated by Congress."

The states say diversion of military funding to wall-building will hurt their economies and deprive their military bases of needed upgrades. They say taking away funds from counter-drug efforts for the wall will also cause damage. California and New Mexico, the two Mexican border states in the lawsuit, say the wall will harm wildlife.

California has repeatedly challenged Trump in court.

"President Trump is manufacturing a crisis and declaring a made-up 'national emergency' in order to seize power and undermine the Constitution," said California Gov. Gavin Newsom in a statement. "This 'emergency' is a national disgrace."

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