Virginia joins states suing Trump over emergency declaration

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In this Monday, Jan. 21, 2019, photo, a U.S. flag hangs on a border barrier in El Paso, Texas. Such barriers have been a part of El Paso for decades and are currently being expanded, even as the fight over President Donald Trump’s desire to wall off the entire U.S.-Mexico border has sparked the longest […]

Virginia 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.

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

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

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.”

STATEMENT FROM VIRGINIA ATTORNEY GENERAL MARK HERRING’S OFFICE:

Attorney General Herring today joined a lawsuit challenging President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency and his attempt to divert funding appropriated by Congress for other purposes. In the complaint, the coalition alleges 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. Virginia, specifically, stands to lose up to $131.7 million in military construction funding for currently planned projects. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. “Concocting a fake emergency to build a needless wall goes against the Constitution and the values America was built on,” said Attorney General Herring. “President Trump’s ill-advised plan could divert critical funds from actual national security priorities, including military construction projects at bases and facilities throughout Virginia. We must stand up to this administration when it violates the law and attacks our values.” The complaint filed today alleges that the Trump Administration’s action declaring a national emergency due to a purported border crisis is unlawful and unconstitutional. President Trump’s made-up 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 twenty-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. Virginia, specifically, stands to lose up to $131.7 million in military construction funding for currently planned projects at Dam Neck, Fort A.P. Hill, Fort Belvoir, Humphreys Engineer Center, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, and the Pentagon. Joining Attorney General Herring in the lawsuit are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Oregon.

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