California and New Mexico Team Up to Block Trump’s Border Wall

"In America, no one is above the law," says California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. "It’s a lesson the President has yet to learn."

California and New Mexico may geographically be hundreds of miles apart, but their politics frequently align. On Thursday, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced he had filed a motion with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of his state and that of New Mexico, arguing that President Donald Trump has illegally diverted $2.5 billion in Department of Defense funds toward his border wall — without the authorization of Congress. 

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas stated back in February that the state planned to sue the Trump Administration for its “inappropriate and overreaching” national emergency declaration. 

“As Attorney General of a border state, I am appalled that President Trump would bypass the rule of law, manufacture an ‘emergency,’ and weaken our national defense and readiness for a potential terrorist attack or catastrophic natural disaster,” Balderas states. “I stand ready to join with our state partners to file against and prevent this abhorrent misuse of executive power.”

“California and New Mexico both request that this Court declare that the transfer and use of [Department of Defense] funds toward Defendants’ proposed border wall is unlawful and unconstitutional,” the motion reads. “Absent an injunction, Defendants will be unconstrained in their bypassing of the States’ environmental laws and regulations in constructing border barriers, infringing California’s and New Mexico’s sovereign interests in enforcing their laws.”

Further, it argues that both states could suffer extreme and permanent harm to their wildlife and natural resources through the blockage of hundreds of animals’ migration routes, the possible redirection of vital water sources, and the carbon emissions such could construction would emit. 

Those impacts are themselves the subject of a second suit launched against the administration. The attorneys general of a coalition of states — California Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai’i, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin — submitted an amicus brief Wednesday in support of Sierra Club, et al. v. Trump, et al 

“Our president doesn’t get to break the law just because he doesn’t like the rules,” Becerra says. “President Trump’s schemes are blocked by the courts, repeatedly, because they are unlawful. We’ve challenged his cynical actions, not only because they threaten our democratic institutions and constitutional principles, but also because they cause irreparable harm to our states.”

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