Led by California, a group of 16 states filed a lawsuit Monday suing President Donald Trump for his attempt to fund a border wall by declaring a national emergency.
The suit seeks to prevent Trump from circumventing Congress in order to divert money from other areas — including the military — to pay for a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
“Today, on Presidents Day, we take President Trump to court to block his misuse of presidential power,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement.
“[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.”
The states say they have the right to sue the president because his national emergency declaration threatens their funding.
The other states joining the lawsuit are: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Virginia.
Becerra said a wall was not necessary because "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.”
Trump is already facing lawsuits from several other groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity, Border Network for Human Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union.
During Friday’s announcement, Trump predicted — in a much-mocked sing-songy cadence — that legal challenges would follow.
“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,” he said.
Cover image: California Attorney General Xavier Becerra speaks during a press conference at the California State Capitol on March 7, 2018 in Sacramento, California. (Stephen Lam/Getty Images)