16 States Sue Trump After National Emergency Declared for Border Wall Funding

by | February 19, 2019 AT 7:33 AM

By Sean Philip Cotter

A coalition of 16 states is suing President Trump, saying he is violating the Constitution with his plan to unilaterally divert funds to his border wall -- and calling on the federal courts to stop him unless Congress signs off on it.

The 16 states, led by California, where the complaint was filed, wrote in the suit that they have filed the complaint in light of "President Donald J. Trump's flagrant disregard of fundamental separation of powers principles engrained in the United States Constitution."

"President Trump has veered the country toward a constitutional crisis of his own making," the complaint reads. Trump and various administration officials are named as the defendants in the suit, filed on Monday, which was Presidents Day.

Massachusetts was not among the states filing suit, though New England states Connecticut and Maine, as well as New York, have signed on. A spokeswoman for Attorney General Maura Healey said Monday night that Healey has been in contact with the other states' AGs while she considers what effect the order might have on Massachusetts.

The document cites data indicating that the total number of border apprehensions remains far below the highs of two decades ago, and says there's no evidence that terrorists are making their way into the country through the border, as Trump has claimed.

The states say Trump is violating constitutional provisions regarding the separation of powers and how the government appropriates money. The states ask that the courts, "Permanently enjoin Defendants from constructing a border wall without an appropriation by Congress for that purpose," and "Permanently enjoin Defendants from diverting federal funding toward construction of a border wall."

The suit also says a wall would break federal environmental laws in California and New Mexico, which also is part of the suit. Heavily Republican Texas, which has the longest border in the country, is not part of the suit filed by otherwise blue or purple states.

Trump declared the national emergency last week and announced he would move billions of dollars around to pay for more wall along the southern border. He made the move after Congress approved less than a quarter of the $5.7 billion he sought for his wall, which was one of his key campaign promises.

Legal experts have said the law regarding a president's power to declare and act on national emergencies is murky.

(c)2019 the Boston Herald