Political News

Coalition of attorneys general sue over transfer of Pentagon funds for border wall

Posted March 3, 2020 6:25 p.m. EST

— New York Attorney General Letitia James, along with 18 attorneys general from across the country, sued the Trump administration Tuesday over plans to divert additional military funds for the construction of President Donald Trump's signature border wall.

The administration has increasingly relied on the Defense Department to shore up money to build barriers on the US-Mexico border. Last month, the Pentagon announced plans to divert $3.83 billion from various accounts to fund the wall.

Tuesday's lawsuit is the latest in a string of legal challenges over the administration shifting funds for the wall. The American Civil Liberties Union also sued in February over the additional Pentagon funds being transferred for the wall.

"President Trump is risking the safety of every American by diverting taxpayer dollars from our military to fund the same xenophobic campaign promises he's made for the last four years," said James, who's previously filed a lawsuit against the wall, in a statement.

"The courts have already once rejected the president's unlawful attempt to shift funds to his hateful pet project, so as long as this Administration continues down the path of illegally subsidizing an ill-advised border wall we will not hesitate to take action," James added.

The states argue that the diversion of funds is in violation of the Constitution and will impact their National Guard units and put military construction projects at risk of being defunded.

The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.

Other states have also called into question plans to dip into Pentagon funds for the wall and succeeded in barring the administration from using some of that money.

A federal judge in Washington state last month blocked the Trump administration from diverting millions of dollars in funding from a project at a base in the state to border wall construction.

The lawsuit related to Trump's national emergency declaration, which allowed the administration to take from Pentagon funds, including redirecting money intended for military construction projects to the wall.

The judge barred the administration from dipping into the nearly $90 million allocated for the project, but didn't halt the use of military construction funds for the wall altogether.

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