Donald Trump speaks during an event in the Rose Garden at the White House to declare a national emergency in order to build a wall along the southern border, Friday, Feb. 15, 2019 in Washington. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Donald Trump lashes out at California after 16 states sue over his border wall national emergency

Sixteen states are suing Donald Trump over his declaration of a national emergency in order to get a border wall

Matthew Rozsa
February 19, 2019 5:19PM (UTC)

President Donald Trump is getting sued by 16 states over his decision to declare a national emergency in order to obtain funding for a southern border wall.

"President Trump has veered the country toward a constitutional crisis of his own making. For years, President Trump has repeatedly stated his intention to build a wall across the United States-Mexico border," declared the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, according to The Hill. The filing also referred to Trump's declaration as a "manufactured crisis."


California Attorney General Xavier Becerra made a similar point on Sunday while appearing on ABC's "This Week," telling the host that Trump "did not have to call this an emergency. It's become clear that this is not an emergency, not only because no one believes it is, but because Donald Trump himself has said it's not." Becerra elaborated on those sentiments in a statement on Monday where he explained that Trump "is willing to manipulate the Office of the Presidency to engage in unconstitutional theater performed to convince his audience that he is committed to his ‘beautiful’ border wall. We’re suing President Trump to stop him from unilaterally robbing taxpayer funds lawfully set aside by Congress for the people of our states," according to NBC News.

Becerra's statement added, "Unlawful southern border entries are at their lowest point in 20 years, immigrants are less likely than native-born citizens to commit crimes, and illegal drugs are more likely to come through official ports of entry."

The sixteen states who have joined in the lawsuit are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Virginia. But Trump singled out the Golden State for ridicule on Twitter on Monday:


In an interview with Salon last week, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., explained that he and many of his colleagues were confident that Trump's declaration of a national emergency would not stand up in court.

"I think we can actually look forward with considerable confidence to the opportunity to look into their own records and so forth, discovery, which might very well come to pass in litigation like this, and examination and cross-examination of witnesses, which might very well come to pass in a case like this. They can be very valuable things in terms of getting to the truth and blowing the rhetoric aside," Whitehouse told Salon.

He added, "The question is, can he defend it against court challenges? All he has to do is sign a piece of paper and he can do that, but will the piece of paper be honored and will he exceed his bounds? There are propositions for the court at that point."


Trump himself predicted that he would get sued and might lose when he announced his national emergency last week. During the press conference he told reporters, "And we will have a national emergency, and we will then be sued, and they will sue us in the 9th Circuit, even though it shouldn't be there, and we will possibly get a bad ruling, and then we'll get another bad ruling, and then we'll end up in the Supreme Court, and hopefully we'll get a fair shake and we'll win in the Supreme Court."

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

MORE FROM Matthew Rozsa

Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •