20 states file motion for preliminary injunction to safeguard the environment and preserve law enforcement funding
April 5, 2019
Carson City, NV – Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford announced that his office, along with a coalition of 20 states, has filed a motion to block the Trump Administration’s attempt to unlawfully divert $1.6 billion in federal funds to build a border wall. The motion was filed in the Northern District of California as part of the coalition’s ongoing lawsuit challenging President Trump’s unconstitutional action to divert funding and resources meant for law enforcement, drug interdiction and military construction projects.
With this motion, the attorneys general request that the Court immediately halt the Trump Administration’s attempt to divert the $1.6 billion in funds that Congress intended for state and local law enforcement agencies. The attorneys general also seek to protect environmental resources that would be imminently harmed by the construction of a border wall on the southern border in New Mexico.
“Today we’re making good on our promise to protect state and national funds reserved for our military and law enforcement agencies,” said AG Ford. “This motion addresses President Trump’s complete disregard for the will of Congress and separation of powers principles engrained in the U.S. Constitution.”
In their motion, the attorneys general argue that by declaring a state of emergency, the Trump Administration is attempting to ultimately divert even more funding, up to $6.7 billion, in funding through the Department of Treasury’s Forfeiture Fund, the Department of Defense’s counterdrug account, and military construction projects. These unlawful actions pose significant harm to the states, who have relied on Treasury Forfeiture Funds to purchase needed law enforcement equipment, staffing and support of ongoing operations. In addition, any diversion of funds and resources toward the construction of a border wall will cause environmental harm to New Mexico and other border states.
The coalition also argues that the Trump Administration’s actions to divert funding:
- Lack statutory authority because the federal government cannot satisfy the criteria it relies on for diversion of the funds and resources;
- Violate the U.S. Constitution’s bedrock separation of powers principles by attempting to usurp Congress’s appropriation powers;
- Disregard the National Environmental Policy Act by proceeding with construction plans in New Mexico without preparing the required environmental impact statement; and
- Pose imminent environmental harm to environmentally sensitive areas on the border of New Mexico where construction of the border wall is imminent.
Nevada joined a multi-state lawsuit challenging President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to create a border wall on February 18, 2019. The states’ complaint explained how the Trump Administration’s emergency declaration and diversion of funds was unconstitutional and otherwise unlawful, and sought to block the emergency declaration, unauthorized construction of the border wall, and any illegal diversion of Congressionally-appropriated funds.
In addition to Nevada, other attorneys general represented in this action include: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.
To view the filed Motion for Injunction, click here.