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California, other states in border wall fight

The border barrier between the U.S. and Mexico in Nogales, Arizona. (Photo: Manuela Durson)

As the Congressional battle heats up over President Trump’s efforts to build a border wall, a number of states — including California — already have joined the fight in court.

California and 15 other states have challenged the president’s emergency declaration to spend billions of dollars for the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, an amount far above the money authorized by Congress for border security.

In declaring the emergency, Trump described an epidemic of crime and drug use as a result of people illegally coming to California from Mexico.

California joined New York, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon and Virginia in the lawsuits. Most of these states are controlled by Democratic legislatures and, with the exception of Maryland, have Democratic governors.

The city and county of San Francisco also has filed a lawsuit, arguing that President Trump lacks authority to control funding for the wall because Congress controls the nation’s purse strings. Many of the states suing Trump are doing so for the same reason as San Francisco.

Trump was originally given $1.375 billion dollars for his largely promised wall. The Trump administration stated it would use this money up first, then get more money. His emergency order calls for $5.7 billion.

What is the source of the additional money?

Trump has options. He reportedly has $600 million from the Treasury Department, $3.6 billion from military reconstruction funds and $2.5 billion from a military anti drug account.

In declaring the emergency, Trump described an epidemic of crime and drug use as a result of people illegally coming to California from Mexico.

“I get my numbers from a lot of sources.” — Donald Trump

“So, we’re going to be signing, today, and registering national emergency. And, it’s a great thing to do, because we have an invasion of drugs, invasion of gangs, invasion of people. It’s unacceptable,” he said.

Although Trump makes many statements on immigration crime, none of those statements have been backed up with evidence.

When asked by a reporter at the White House where Trump gets his numbers, the president repeatedly told the journalist to “sit down,” then said heatedly, “I get my numbers from a lot of sources.”

Immediate criticism of Trump’s emergency order came from California Democrats.

“This is pure politics, base politics, and everybody knows it.” — Gavin Newsom

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said during an appearance on CNN, “It’s kind of awkward to say that on Presidents’ Day we’re going to be suing the president of the United States, but sometimes that’s what you have to do.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom has also responded to Trump’s “emergency” declaration on Twitter stating, “Our message to the White House is simple: CA will see you in court.”

On Monday in Washington, D.C, where Newsom was holding meetings on the emergency declaration, the governor described the emergency order as the “theater of the absurd.”

“This is pure politics, base politics, and everybody knows it,” he told reporters. Earlier, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the order “lawless.”

Trump himself said during his Rose Garden speech that “I could do the wall over a longer period of time. I didn’t need to do this.”

Editor’s Note: Monet Muscat is a Capitol Weekly intern from the Met Sacramento High School.


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