Sixteen states file lawsuit against Trump’s national emergency

ARIZONA ABSTAINS FROM SUIT; SEN. McSALLY, GOV. DUCEY SUPPORT BORDER SECURITY

Sgt. Fabian Barreto, 104th Engineer Construction Company, surveys the border wall along the Arizona-Mexico border in November as part of the Pentagon's support of border-security operations. The Defense Department said it is sending 3,750 more troops to the border in the effort. (Photo by 2nd Lt. Corey Maisch/U.S. Army)

By Nicole Ludden

PHOENIX – Sixteen states have filed suit against President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration last week, but Arizona isn’t among them.

The attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Virginia and Michigan filed a complaint on Monday opposing the national emergency declaration, which the president declared after Congress refused to fully fund his request for barriers along the southern border.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is leading the state lawsuit, which comes on the heels of lawsuits filed last week by several activist groups.

Of the four border states, New Mexico joined California, while Texas remained on the sidelines with Arizona.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich did not respond to a request for comment.

After reaching an agreement on a spending bill to avoid another government shutdown, Trump announced that $6.6 billion in military and drug-interdiction funds would be made available to build a border wall, which has been his key campaign promise.

“Such use would divert counter-drug programming funds directed to the states, and military construction funds to be spent in the states,” the 16 plaintiffs assert.

U.S. Rep. Tom O’Halleran, D-Ariz., has said the funding would consist of $3.5 million from the Pentagon’s military construction fund, $2.5 billion from the Pentagon’s drug interdiction initiative and $600 million from the Department of Treasury’s drug-forfeiture program.

Gil Kerlikowske, an Obama appointee as commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, from 2014 to 2017, said he does not see an emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Well, we know that the drugs, especially marijuana seizures, along the border have gone down for a pretty good number of years,” he said. “We also know that the people aren’t attempting to evade the Border Patrol, they’re people that essentially turn themselves into the Border Patrol trying to make a claim of credible fear.”

While working in the Obama administration, Kerlikowske said, CBP processed 68,000 unaccompanied children at the U.S. -Mexico border.

“They were able to handle that, and there’s really no reason that they shouldn’t be able to handle this also,” he said.

Kerlikowske also said increased technology use by CBP officials has led to a safer border.

“The technology, I think, has been far more effective at reducing the numbers though then a barrier than a wall.”

A main point of contention involving the construction of a physical barrier is how it would be paid for.

In a tweet Friday, Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., publicly addressed the concern over cuts to military funding in Arizona.

“I support @POTUS’s goal, which is to further fund border security,” McSally said. “I will continue to study the emergency declaration and additional funding proposal to ensure it increases border security while not adversely impacting our military.”

Gov. Doug Ducey apparently doesn’t share that concern. He tweeted his support for the president on Friday, saying, “Arizona has watched for decades as Washington has failed to prioritize border security. It’s unfortunate it has come to this rather than Congress doing its job. But action is needed. I support President Trump’s plan to secure our border.”

The Department of Justice has not publicly commented on the lawsuits.’

– Video by Austin Westfall/Cronkite News

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6 Comments

  1. Perhaps a physical barrier will be ideal in certain areas which are remote from surveillance options. This decision should belong to a group dedicated to study & recommend. Not one powerful man who refuses to listen to experts who say he is throwing OUR MONEY away.

    • you mean the president who is doing what many in the past said they were going to do and then sat on their hands? He said he would get a wall built and he is following thru unlike bho and all the others who only think of self 1st. He has his owbn money so he does not have a string puller as all the others have.. Remember the democraps said back in the 80’s they would put an end to the illegal problem, a problem they have encouraged and done NOTHING to fix. Remember with bho in they had everything and did absolutely nothing. Just like the rinos who claim to be republicans. They had the power and went crazy just like the democraps and they also did nothing. Now just look who is jumping up and down crying in their milk as the president is trying to take care of the country 1st and they are also oly interested in SELF.

      As to study and recommend just look at the local pols thats all they do and then its still about SELF.

  2. Maybe if any of those dissenting States had as many illegals and drugs coming across their borders then the tune would be different. It is easy to disagree when it is not happening to you.

    • Have you been to Hawaii lately? I happen to live on Oahu and this place really reminds me of the Philippines and there isn’t much difference between a Mexican and a Filipino, they’re both brown with Spanish last names and mostly work in janitorial.

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