AN ALLIANCE of 16 US states led by California sued Donald Trump, claiming he “illegally” declared a national emergency to secure funding for his border wall.
Trump used executive powers to gather the £4.41billion ($5.7billion) to build the wall after Congress only allocated him £1.09billion ($1.4billion) – falling short of his demands.
Splash News US President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on the US-southern border on February 15
The lawsuit comes days after the US President’s order to bypass Congress and use money from the Pentagon and other budgets.
The most recent budget deal passed by Congress was to avert a second government shutdown.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra released a statement yesterday declaring the move unconstitutional.
Becerra said: “President Trump treats the rule of law with utter contempt.
“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 the lawsuit filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California are the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Virginia.
‘WE’LL WIN IN THE SUPREME COURT’
Three Texas landowners and an environmental group filed the first lawsuit against the order on Friday, saying it would infringe on their property rights.
The legal challenges are expected to slow the president’s efforts to fulfil his campaign promise of building a wall.
Trump acknowledged that his order would face a lengthy legal challenge.
But he vowed: “We’ll win in the Supreme Court.”
Trump has argued the wall is needed to curb the “invasion” of illegal immigrants and illicit drugs streaming across the southern border.
On Friday in the Rose Garden of the White House, Trump said: “Everyone knows that walls work.
“I’m going to be signing a national emergency.
“We have an invasion of drugs, invasion of gangs, invasion of people, and it’s unacceptable.
“We’re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border.”
After declaring a national emergency, Trump jetted off to Florida.
The 45th president travelled to Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach.
He was seen with Mick Mulvaney, his acting chief of staff, in the presidential motorcade just after 8.30am on Monday.
He spent the US holiday weekend reportedly playing golf three times in three days before going to Miami to address crowds about the crisis in Venezuela.
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Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Chuck Schumer, the Senate’s top Democrat, swiftly responded to Trump’s declaration back in Washington.
In a joint statement, they said: “The President’s actions clearly violate the Congress’ exclusive power of the purse, which our Founders enshrined in the Constitution.
“The Congress will defend our constitutional authorities in the Congress, in the courts, and in the public, using every remedy available.”
AP:Associated Press Workers place sections of metal wall as a new barrier is built along the Texas-Mexico border near downtown El Paso
National emergency: How Trump could secure border wall funding with presidential declarationTHE Trump administration has spent months trying to figure out how the president might be able to move forward with the wall the central promise of his 2016 campaign if Congress refuses to give him the money.As early as last March, Trump was publicly floating the idea of using the military for the task.
“Building a great Border Wall, with drugs (poison) and enemy combatants pouring into our Country, is all about National Defense. Build WALL through M!” he tweeted.
But it’s Congress not the president that controls the country’s purse strings and must appropriate money he wants to spend.
Among the laws Trump could turn to is Section 2808 of Title 10 of the U.S. Code pertaining to military construction.
According to the statute, if the president declares an emergency “that requires use of the armed forces,” the Defense secretary “may undertake military construction projects, and may authorize the Secretaries of the military departments to undertake military construction projects, not otherwise authorized by law that are necessary to support such use of the armed forces.”
Another law, Section 2293 of the code’s Title33, allows the diversion of funds from an Army civil works project to a mission that is “essential to the national defense.”
Congressional aides say there is $21 billion in military construction funds that could potentially be used for a wall in the event Trump declares an emergency.
There is about $10 billion in funds from the current 2019 fiscal year that ends on 30 September, and another $11 billion from the previous four years that haven’t been obligated or contracted for a project, the aides said.
They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the funding details.
The Defense Department has declined to provide any details on the amount of money available.
The congressional aides said their data came from the Pentagon.
As an example, the aides said there is funding for a medical facility at a U.S. base in Germany that has been partially built.
If those funds are used, the medical center could be left half built.
The aides said that while the president can decide to use military construction funds, it would likely be up to the Defense Department to determine which specific projects would lose their money.
Reuters President Donald Trump declares a national emergency at the US-Mexico border
Reuters Donald Trump could face a hefty court battle to secure the funding he wants for the border wall – but he vowed ‘we’ll win’
Getty Images – Getty The end of a border wall in Tijuana, Mexico. Trump has been seeking an extra $5.7bn for more construction
Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved Nancy Pelosi, left, said Democrats could launch a legal challenge