Legal Fight Against Emergency Border Wall Funding Includes Illinois | WBEZ
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Illinois Among States Fighting To Block Emergency Funding For Border Wall

Illinois is among 20 states suing the federal government to stop President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border. On Thursday, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul met with California Attorney General Xavier Becerra in Chicago to talk strategy.

Becerra has been a national critic of the emergency declaration, which would divert nearly $6 billion in federal funding to build the border wall Trump promised during his presidential campaign in 2016.

Becerra filed the lawsuit last month in a California federal court just days after Trump issued the declaration. A total of 16 states, including California and Illinois, were listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Another four states have since joined the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges that President Trump doesn’t have the power to divert federal funds to build the wall without the approval of Congress, The New York Times reported. The emergency declaration has sparked furious debate about the separation of powers and whether the move oversteps the boundaries of the president’s authority.

In addition to talking with Raoul about ways their offices could collaborate, Becerra met with representatives from agencies that work with immigrant communities in Chicago.

“The great thing about this work we have been able to do in partnership is that it is more than just one state,” Becerra said Thursday morning during a press conference at Raoul’s offices in the James R. Thompson Center in downtown Chicago.

“All of us now in this lawsuit, we all give examples of how we’re all going to be damaged,” said Becerra. “Our people will be damaged, if we don’t get the resources that Congress appropriated for our states and not for this border wall President Trump wants to build.”

The emergency declaration would authorize President Trump to redirect nearly $6 billion in federal funds from military construction and counternarcotics programs to pay for building the border wall.

Raoul said pushing back against the Trump Administration’s call for a national emergency is important for Illinois. The money could go into investing in military facilities or for law enforcement, he said.

“California is one of the border states, what happens at border impacts the country at large,” Raoul said.

Raoul has filed an amicus brief in at least three lawsuits challenging Trump’s immigration policies, including the lawsuit filed to prevent the administration from terminating temporary protected status for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Sudan

María Ines Zamudio is a reporter for WBEZ’s Race, Class and Communities desk. Follow her @mizamudio.

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