February 18, 2019

NM to sue Trump administration over emergency declaration, calling president ‘desperate’

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Gary Goodenough

Border fence between the United States and Mexico. Flickr/cc

The state of New Mexico will join a lawsuit against the Trump administration over the president’s  declaration of a national emergency to pay for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

California announced last week that it would sue the federal government. And California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said on the ABC Sunday morning talk show “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” that New Mexico and five other states would join California in the lawsuit against the Trump administration.

Update: In all, 16 states, including New Mexico, filed suit.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office did not  say exactly which states were involved, but confirmed the lawsuit would be filed.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham slammed the Trump administration in announcing New Mexico’s participation in the suit.

“The president’s absurd and dangerous declaration, a bald-faced end run around Congress and the basic tenets of our nation’s system of governance, will not stand,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement. “He himself, as was on display for a national television audience last week, freely acknowledged his declaration did not need to be made. The president, plainly desperate, is attempting to set an autocratic precedent that has no absolutely no place in our country.

Last week, Trump said he would use a national emergency to divert federal funds from the U.S. Department of Defense toward the construction of a border wall. The Trump administration argued the disaster declaration is necessary to stop  an increased number of migrants from crossing the border. The federal government’s own statistics have shown that the number of border crossings are dramatically down from the turn of the century and even ten years ago.

This isn’t the only lawsuit the Trump administration faces over his national emergency declaration.

Like Lujan Grisham, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas was also highly critical of Trump.

“As Attorney General of a border state, 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,” Balderas said. “I stand ready to join with our state partners to file against and prevent this abhorrent misuse of executive power.”

Meanwhile, state Senate Republicans said  Lujan Grisham should meet with the governors of Arizona, California and Texas and come to a consensus on border security.

“The collective voice of the four U.S. border governors has not been heard as our federal government has struggled with the critical border issues that directly affect all corners of our state,” according to a letter from the entire Republican Senate caucus. “You can demonstrate your leadership in bringing together your colleagues to find solutions that can be offered to Congress and the President.”

The governors of Texas and Arizona are Republicans, while the governors of New Mexico and California are Democrats.