Attorney General Becerra Seeks to Permanently Stop Trump Administration’s Illegal Attempt to Divert Critical National Guard Funds to Build Unauthorized Wall on Border
SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, leading a coalition of eight attorneys general, today filed a motion for partial summary judgment in a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s illegal diversion of $3.8 billion for the construction of an unauthorized wall on the border. More than 20 percent, $890 million, of the diverted taxpayer funds had been allocated to National Guard units across the country for the purchase of equipment critical to responding to natural disasters and other emergencies. The coalition argues that an immediate permanent injunction is necessary so that the National Guard is fully equipped to protect communities during emergencies, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.
“While National Guard units across the country are undertaking critical missions to protect our communities from the spread of COVID-19, the Trump Administration is attempting to cheat the National Guard out of hundreds of millions of dollars that Congress intended to benefit the States,” said Attorney General Becerra. “This current crisis is a real national emergency - and the National Guard is on the frontlines. We continue to use every tool at our disposal to prevent the Trump Administration’s illegal diversion of funds to build his unauthorized wall at the border.”
On March 3, 2020, a coalition of 19 states filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s diversion of more than $3.8 billion in funds that Congress appropriated to the Department of Defense, including the National Guard. President Trump redirected the funds towards the construction of an unauthorized wall along the border. The funds were originally appropriated for the states’ National Guard units to enable them to provide public safety support in times of emergencies, including natural disasters like wildfires and public health crises such as the current pandemic. For example, the equipment sought by the California National Guard would support emergency care that could “significantly improve patients’ chances of survival” during disaster relief operations.
Given the current national emergency, it is more important than ever to stop the Trump Administration’s illegal actions to fund an unauthorized wall at the border. In the motion, the states argue that the diversion of funds violates the principles of separation of powers, the Presentment Clause, and the Appropriations Clause of the U.S. Constitution by usurping Congress’s appropriation powers. The coalition further asserts that the Trump Administration fails to satisfy the legal requirements necessary to divert the funds and acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.
Attorney General Becerra has led the charge to stand up to President Trump’s unlawful attempts to divert billions of funds toward construction of an unauthorized wall. On February 18, 2019, Attorney General Becerra challenged the unlawful diversion of funds for the 2019 fiscal year, filing a multistate lawsuit in the District Court for the Northern District of California. On June 28, 2019, the district court ruled that the Trump Administration’s actions were unlawful and granted judgment in favor of the States. This ruling is currently pending on appeal before the Ninth Circuit.
Attorney General Becerra is joined by the attorneys general of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Wisconsin, and Virginia.
A copy of the motion can be found here.