Over a Dozen States File Lawsuit Over Donald Trump's National Emergency Declaration to Build Border Wall

Sixteen states filed suit in California federal court on Monday to challenge President Donald Trump's national emergency declaration to build a border wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed the lawsuit, which says that the states aim to protect their citizens and the economic interests of the states.

"Contrary to the will of Congress, the president has used the pretext of a manufactured 'crisis' of unlawful immigration to declare a national emergency and redirect federal dollars appropriated for drug interdiction, military construction and law enforcement initiatives toward building a wall on the United States-Mexico border," the lawsuit reads.

According to The Washington Post, the lawsuit also says that data from the federal government indicates that there is no national emergency at the southern border, in part because unlawful enty into the United States is at a 45-year low.

Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Virginia all joined the California suit. All but one state in the suit, Maryland, has a Democratc governor.

In an interview with The New York Times, Becerra tossed Trump's words from his speech announcing the national emergency as a defense for the suit.

"Probably the best evidence is the president's own words: 'I didn't need to do this, but I'd rather do it much faster,'" Becerra said.

"We're going to try to halt the president from violating the Constitution, the separation of powers, from stealing money from Americans and states that has been allocated by Congress, lawfully," Becerra told CNN. "If the president is essentially stealing money that's been allocated to go to the various states for various purposes but no longer will, we're being harmed, our people are being harmed."

The lawsuit is the biggest and latest for the Trump administration to be saddled with following the national emergency declaration. Several watchdog groups filed suits over the weekend, while the American Civil Liberties Union is expected to file later this week.

In his speech Friday, Trump acknowledged the legal battle ahead.

"We will have a national emergency, and then we will then be sued, and they will sue us in the 9th Circuit, even though it shouldn't be there," Trump said. "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, just like the [travel] ban."

The 9th Circuit has repeatedly ruled against Trump since he took office in 2017, including repealing the president's travel ban and a move to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

Some members of Congress are also working on a resolution to block Trump's declaration, though White House adviser Stephen Miller said Sunday that the president was prepared to veto any bill sent to his desk that would circumvent the national emergency. If Trump were to veto a bill, it would be the first time in his presidency.

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at Florida International University on February 18 in Miami, Florida. President Trump spoke about the ongoing crisis in Venezuela. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images