US states sue Donald Trump over national emergency move

19 Feb 19

A coalition of 16 states in the US is suing president Donald Trump’s administration over his decision to declare a national emergency to pay for a wall on the Mexican border.

The president said he would use emergency powers to bypass Congress, which has refused to give him $5.7bn for the wall, on Friday. 

The action, which is led by the state of California, said they want to block Trump’s “misuse of power”.

California attorney general Xavier Becerra said in a statement: “We’re suing president Trump to stop him from unilaterally robbing taxpayer funds lawfully set aside by Congress for the people of our states.

“For most of us, the office of the president is not a place for theatre.”

The White House has yet to comment on the lawsuit filed on Monday. 

The Democrats, who hold the balance of power in the House of Representatives, oppose funding the barrier on the border – one of Trump’s key campaign pledges.

The president signed a spending bill last week to avoid another government shutdown, which granted him $1.38bn for creating a barrier along the US-Mexican border.

Trump said he did not need to declare a national emergency but that he had done so in the hope of obtaining the money for the wall more quickly.

The lawsuit said the president does not have the power to divert funds approved by Congress to pay for the wall. It says his decision is “unconstitutional and unlawful”.

Joining California in the lawsuit, filed in the court for the Northern District of California, were Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Virginia and Michigan.

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