California’s Democratic Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Sunday that he will “definitely and imminently” file a lawsuit against the Trump administration to contest the declaration of a national emergency at the southern border.
President Donald Trump declared the emergency on Friday after signing a funding bill that included less than a quarter of the money he had requested for the construction of a border barrier, which he says is necessary to stop illegal immigration.
But Democrats like Becerra do not believe the current situation at the border constitutes an emergency.
“It’s clear that this isn’t an emergency, it’s clear that in the mind of Donald Trump he needs to do something to try to fulfill a campaign promise,” Becerra said during an interview on ABC’s “This Week.” The construction of a border wall has been a central issue for Trump since he first announced he was running for president in 2015.
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“That doesn’t constitute a national emergency that would require us to essentially stand down on all sorts of federal laws and also violate the U.S. Constitution,” Becerra, a former congressman, said.
Critics who say the president is using his emergency powers to skirt Congress’ constitutional authority over spending have pointed to his own words at a news conference on the White House lawn Friday when he announced he was declaring the emergency.
“I didn’t need to do this. But I’d rather do it much faster,” Trump said at one point during the lengthy news conference.
“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 said. “Typically, our presidents have focused on issues where the national interests are clearly at stake. The national interests aren’t at stake here.”