Attorney General Kathy Jennings joined 15 state attorneys general in a lawsuit to block President Donald Trump’s unilateral spending of federal defense funds for construction of a border wall under the guise of an “emergency.”
Jennings said the actions are an unconstitutional violation of the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches and cannot be allowed.
“We cannot devolve into a system where Congress chooses not to fund something and the president — whoever it is in the White House — simply can grab other funds to do what he wants,” said Jennings. “Everyone from the Founding Fathers to members of Congress to seventh-grade social studies students know that’s not the way it is supposed to work, and that it is dangerous to start down that road.”
The complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief was filed Monday in U.S. District Court for Northern California. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra led the effort joined by attorneys general of Delaware, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Virginia.
“Contrary to the will of Congress, the president has manufactured a ‘crisis’ of unlawful immigration to declare a national emergency and redirect federal dollars appropriated for drug interdiction and military construction toward building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border,” according to the complaint.
“If the administration were to use the funding sources identified in the executive actions, plaintiff states collectively stand to lose millions in federal funding that their national guard units receive for domestic drug interdiction and counter-drug activities. Plaintiff states will also stand to lose millions of dollars received on an annual basis for law enforcement programs from the Treasury Forfeiture Fund. The loss of funding will harm the public safety of plaintiff states.”
In a section of the complaint regarding potential harm to Delaware, the complaint stated, “The diversion of any funding from Delaware’s National Guard, Dover Air Force Base and any other military construction project, drug interdiction or other law enforcement program in the state of Delaware will harm Delaware residents by depleting Delaware’s economy and draining the state of Delaware of needed fiscal resources.”