Author: TEGNA Staff
Published: 9:29 PM EST February 15, 2019
Updated: 9:38 PM EST February 15, 2019
Hours after President Donald Trump declared a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border, two lawsuits have been filed seeking to block it.
Advocacy group Public Citizen confirmed their lawsuit in a tweet saying, “BREAKING: We just sued Trump over his fake national emergency.”
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics also confirmed that they’re suing the Justice Department after “it failed to to produce documents concerning the legality of President Trump invoking emergency powers to build a border wall.”
The American Civil Liberties Union had announced earlier it would file suit challenging his emergency powers declaration.
"By the president's very own admission in the Rose Garden, there is no national emergency. He just grew impatient and frustrated with Congress, and decided to move along his promise for a border wall 'faster,'" said ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero. Some Democratic state attorneys general have also threatened to go to court over the decision
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Gov. Gavin Newsom, both Democrats, told reporters that the state is also likely to sue the president over his emergency declaration.
"No one in America is above the law, not even the president of the United States," Becerra said. "The president does not have power to act frivolously."
Trump signed the declaration to justify diverting billions of federal dollars from military construction and other purposes after Congress approved only a fraction of the money he had demanded. The standoff over border funding had led to the longest government shutdown in history. To avoid another shutdown, Trump reluctantly signed a funding bill Friday that included just $1.4 billion of the $5.7 billion he had demanded for the wall.
Trump announced the declaration in a free-wheeling, 50-minute Rose Garden news conference that included a long preamble about his administration’s accomplishments. He jousted with reporters and delivered a sing-song prediction about the fate of the order as it winds its way through the legal system before potentially ending up at the Supreme Court.
“Sadly, we’ll be sued and sadly it will go through a process and happily we’ll win, I think,” said Trump.
“If Trump gets away with this, there’s no telling what the next concocted ‘emergency’ will be, who will be targeted and what emergency powers will be claimed,” Public Citizen said in a tweet. “We refuse to tolerate this slide to authoritarianism.”
Trump announced in his national emergency speech that he will be spending roughly $8 billion on border barriers — combining the money approved by Congress with funding he plans to repurpose through executive actions.