This Is Not An Emergency

State Sues Over Trump’s Power Grab

Carolyn Carlson
5 min read
This is Not an Emergency
N.M. Attorney General Hector Balderas supports our governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham (Joe Monahan)
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In an effort to check the power of an absurd and dangerous president, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham along with Attorney General Hector Balderas led New Mexicans in joining 16 states that filed suit to block the Trump administration’s unconstitutional use of emergency powers to fund a border wall.

Not Today

complaint was filed on President’s Day in US District Court for Northern California. The other states joining California are New York, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon and Virginia. All of these states have Democratic governors and most have Legislatures controlled by Democrats.

“There is zero real world basis for the emergency declaration, and there will be no wall,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. Lujan Grisham has challenged Trump’s narrative of a security crisis on the border head-on. She recently withdrew most of the state’s National Guard contingent, leaving a small group of troops along a well-traveled corridor to help cross-border migrants. The real emergency is the humanitarian crisis at the border, which most folks agree has been caused by Trump policies.

Filed on behalf of many millions of citizens in the 16 states, the lawsuit claims that Trump engaged in an unlawful scheme when he used the pretext of a manufactured crisis of “unlawful immigration” to declare a national emergency, seeing to redirect billions in federal dollars meant by Congress for the military, law enforcement and health-related areas to build his wall.

A Disinformation Campaign

Trump and his minions say immigrants are running across the desert to invade our country with drugs, disease and crime. Waves of facts and evidence counter these untruths. Most of the migrants reaching the New Mexico border are Central American parents with children and unaccompanied minors traveling alone to ask for asylum from unreasonable conditions. Asylum is a legal claim that is decided in federal immigration court.

“I am appalled that President Trump would bypass the rule of law, manufacture an ‘emergency,’ and weaken our national defense and readiness for a potential terrorist attack or catastrophic natural disaster,” Attorney General Balderas added.

New Mexico and California are two of the four border states that would incur irreparable environmental damage, the suit says. Another separate lawsuit has also been filed in the District of Columbia on behalf of three Texas landowners who say they would be negatively impacted by an unnecessary wall built along the border.

More Legal Action

Many more lawsuits are expected in coming days and weeks.

The Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group, filed a suit that says Trump’s administration has failed to identify any legal authority to take such an action. This complaint alleges that a border barrier would prevent wildlife from being able to freely pass within their natural habitat which could result in the extinction of jaguars, ocelots and other endangered species within the United States, in violation of Federal environmental law.

The American Civil Liberties Union is
preparing an additional lawsuit claiming Trump cannot redirect taxpayer money during an “emergency” unless it’s for military construction projects that directly support the armed forces.

Who Is On Board

In a recent
Albuquerque Journal article, Border Industrial Association CEO Jerry Pacheco summed things up when he questioned Trump’s emergency declaration and description of the border in crisis. “There’s not anybody here who lives on the border who can look at you with a straight face to say this is a national emergency,” Pacheco said. “The general sentiment I feel down here is everybody is sick of being used as a pawn or being used as a scapegoat to try to declare a national emergency,” Pacheco said.

Not all Republicans are on board with this dangerous precedent. One Texas Republican lawmaker
said publicly that he opposed the declaration of an emergency.

Should the presidency be able to declare gun violence a national emergency and dictate “new rules” where everyone but the police turns in its guns? Should the presidency be able to declare opioid overdoses a national emergency and create new regulations that seriously impede the market place? Should a president be able to declare global warming an emergency and ban all oil and gas and machines that use them? Those are three “emergencies” with real threats to the lives and businesses of thousands of citizens, much more so than asylum seekers at our southern symbolic Statue of Liberty.

Trump has responded that he is pretty sure there will be lawsuits but once it gets to “the” or as he sees it, “his” Supreme Court, he will prevail. We shall see and in the meantime that will surely follow, will continue to resist such power grabs for what they are.
Hector Balderas and Michelle Lujan Grisham

Joe Monahan

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