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County of El Paso, Border Network plan to sue Trump over ‘national emergency’

President Donald Trump is expected to bypass lawmakers and declare a national emergency on the US-Mexico border to siphon billions from other federal coffers for his barrier along the border.

Trump’s action comes after congressional lawmakers reached a budget deal to avoid a federal government shutdown. The bill only includes $1.37 billion for the border wall when Trump was asking for $5.7 billion.

If the president follows through on his promise, the Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR) and the County of El Paso plan to file a lawsuit against the Trump Administration, according to Protect Democracy and the Niskanen Center. Both organizations said they plan to represent BNHR and the County.

“Throughout history, autocrats have used so-called emergency powers to seize control from democratic systems that don’t yield to their will,” said Kristy Parker, Counsel for Protect Democracy and co-counsel for this pending litigation, “Often, they have invented fake crises for this purpose and we should all be extremely alarmed that President Trump has reached for this tool in the autocrat’s toolkit.”

“America is governed by the rule of law and the separation of powers. President Trump’s threat to declare a national emergency would violate both of these,” said Kristie De Peña, Director of Immigration and Senior Counsel for the Niskanen Center and co-counsel for the prospective lawsuit, “Our lawsuit would aim to stop the dangerous precedent this would establish for the presidency.”

El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego says El Paso County is one of the safest communities in the US and President Trump is painting an inaccurate portrait of the border in order to justify his border wall. “This threatened emergency declaration will further damage El Paso County’s reputation and economy, and we are determined to stop this from happening,” Samaniego said in a news release.

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