California will “imminently” challenge President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to obtain funds for a U.S.-Mexico border wall, state Attorney General Xavier Becerra said on Sunday.
“Definitely and imminently,” Becerra told ABC’s “This Week” program when asked whether and when California would sue the Trump administration in federal court. Other states controlled by Democrats are expected to join the effort.
“We are prepared, we knew something like this might happen. And with our sister state partners, we are ready to go,” he said.
Trump invoked the emergency powers on Friday under a 1976 law after Congress rebuffed his request for $5.7 billion to help build the wall that was a signature 2016 campaign promise.
The move is intended to allow him to redirect money appropriated by Congress for other purposes to wall construction.
The White House says Trump will have access to about $8 billion. Nearly $1.4 billion was allocated for border fencing under a spending measure approved by Congress last week, and Trump’s emergency declaration is aimed at giving him another $6.7 billion for the wall.
Becerra cited Trump’s own comment on Friday that he “didn’t need to do this” as evidence that the emergency declaration is legally vulnerable.
“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,” he said.
Becerra and California Governor Gavin Newsom, both Democrats, have been expected to sue to block Trump’s move.
Becerra told ABC that California and other states are waiting to learn which federal programmes will lose money to determine what kind of harm the states could face from the declaration.