By Jennipher Vasquez
Sixteen states are suing the Trump Administration over the national emergency declaration, with California leading the suit.
The lawsuit came about after President Donald Trump announced Feb. 15 that he was declaring a national emergency to gather higher funding for the southern border wall.
While making the declaration, Trump said that the action to declare an emergency was not necessary, but was essentially done to speed up the process of building the wall.
“I want to do it faster. I can do the wall over a longer period of time, I didn’t need to do this, but I’d rather do it much faster,” Trump said in a press conference regarding the emergency declaration.
Trump decided to go this route while also signing the government funding bill with Congress that granted him $1.375 billion for physical barriers at the Mexican border, although he may have had other options.
In declaring a national emergency at the southern border, it allows the president to divert funds meant to strengthen national defenses towards building the wall without having to pass through Congress. This could be considered one less obstacle to the president as he said Congress “skimped” when it came to granting funds for the wall.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has said his concern for the emergency declaration not being an actual emergency, as opposed to 9/11, is that it comprises the work being done to prevent drugs from crossing into the United States for the sole purpose of funding the wall.
“Harm to our institutions working here in California to interdict drugs, harm to our men and women in uniform here in California and beyond,” said Attorney General Xavier Becerra alongside Newsom when talking about how the emergency declaration affects California and the lawsuit.
Although California needs to provide grounds for the suit as a state that will be substantially affected by the declaration, it is clear that the main concern is the drug crisis likely due to where Trump will ultimately divert funds from.
“This is more like a plan to get around Congress because he didn’t get as much money as he wanted, and he knows it may fail but it won’t make him see all the factors as to why this tactic may fail,” said student Melissa Toress, political science major at Riverside City College. She said that California, along with many of the other states allied in the lawsuit, have a larger drug problem than other states. Similar to the concerns of Gov. Newsom, Torres said that the wall won’t make people stop bringing drugs through the border, they’ll simply create new ways to do so while eliminating already existing programs in place to fund the wall.
“It’s unfortunate that things get this far because there’s definitely better ways to get funding. I think this just like everything else is made to be a larger issue than it really is by Trump,” said student Michael Martinez, also a political science major at Riverside City College.
“Regardless of how the case turns out this wasn’t the way to do it,” Martinez said, “and a lot of people are upset over it.”
The case is expected to move quickly and eventually be presented to the Supreme Court.