SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California and 15 other states filed a lawsuit Monday against President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration to fund a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra released a statement Monday saying the suit alleges the Trump administration’s action violates the Constitution.
“President Trump treats the rule of law with utter contempt,” Becerra said. “He knows there is no border crisis, he knows his emergency declaration is unwarranted, and he admits that he will likely lose this case in court.”
Joining California in filing the lawsuit are the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Virginia. All the states involved in the lawsuit have Democratic attorneys general.
Gov. Jared Polis and Attorney General Phil Weiser, both Democrats, said in a statement that the wall project could divert tens of millions of dollars from military construction projects in Colorado.
Meanwhile, protesters converged in cities around the country Monday to decry Trump’s declaration.
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, decried the president’s actions at a peaceful rally attended by a few hundred people outside Los Angeles City Hall. Police kept the crowd separate from a handful of pro-Trump counter-protesters who waved flags and wore red “Make America Great Again” hats.
A large crowd also gathered outside the Federal Building in San Francisco. One demonstrator carried a sign that read: “Step 1: Declare a national emergency. Step 2: Play golf. Step 3: Watch SNL.”
A crowd of more than 100 protesters gathered in frigid weather at the state Capitol in Denver roared with approval when Weiser told them his office was joining the multistate lawsuit, Denverite reported.
“There is zero real-world basis for the emergency declaration, and there will be no wall,” New Mexico Gov. Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, said in a statement.
Organized by the liberal group MoveOn and others, the demonstrations took the occasion of Presidents Day to assail Trump’s proclamation as undemocratic and anti-immigrant.
In Newark, New Jersey, Kelly Quirk told a gathering of dozens that “democracy demands” saying “no more” to Trump.
“There are plenty of real emergencies to invest our tax dollars in,” said Quirk, part of a local progressive group called Soma Action.
In New York City, hundreds of people at a Manhattan park chanted “No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here” as several of them held up letters spelling out, “IMPEACH.”
There were some counter-protesters, including in Washington, where there was a brief scuffle in the crowd.
Trump’s declaration Friday shifts billions of dollars from military construction to the border. The decision came after Congress didn’t approve as much as Trump wanted for the wall, which the Republican considers a national security necessity.
His emergency proclamation calls the border “a major entry point for criminals, gang members, and illicit narcotics.”
Illegal border crossings have declined from a high of 1.6 million in 2000. But 50,000 families are now entering illegally each month, straining the U.S. asylum system and border facilities.
Trump’s critics have argued he undercut his own rationale for the emergency declaration by saying he “didn’t need to do this” but wanted to get the wall built faster than he otherwise could. In announcing the move, he said he anticipated the legal challenges.
“President Trump declared a national emergency in order to spend billions of taxpayer dollars on his border wall obsession,” Manar Waheed of the American Civil Liberties Union told protesters rallying in a Washington park before heading to the nearby White House fence. The ACLU has announced its intention to sue Trump over the issue.
The states say diversion of military funding to wall-building will hurt their economies and deprive their military bases of needed upgrades. They say taking away funds from counter-drug efforts for the wall will also cause damage. California and New Mexico, the two Mexican border states in the lawsuit, say the wall will harm wildlife.
California has repeatedly challenged Trump in court.
“President Trump is manufacturing a crisis and declaring a made-up ‘national emergency’ in order to seize power and undermine the Constitution,” said California Gov. Gavin Newsom in a statement. “This ‘emergency’ is a national disgrace.”