When future historians look back on this period in American history they are sure to be befuddled by the fact that a not-insubstantial portion of the country managed to convince themselves that erecting an exorbitantly expensive medieval wall along the southern border to decrease immigration was not only in the nation’s best interests, but urgently so.
Donald Trump concocted the asinine project to gin up a wave of xenophobic support for his candidacy in 2016 but has failed to fully deliver on the massive project (paid for my Mexico) that he promised. So far he’s managed to erect some paltry border fences and sections of wall but is conducting himself as if he’s actually built the massive, looming barrier he conjured up at rally after rally.
Now, his wall has hit another snag. The Hill reports that 19 different states have decided to sue the Trump administration over its ludicrous scheme to divert roughly $3.8 billion of defense dollars to the Mexican border wall. The states involved are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
These states are reasonably alleging that such a gross misappropriation is in violation of the Constitution because it circumvents Congress’s legal power to oversee and control spending. On top of that, the states allege it’s environmentally dangerous to build the barrier as proposed.
The president abused his powers last year by declaring a national emergency along the border so that he could stick his grubby orange fingers into the defense budget and cherrypick tax dollars for the wall. Then, last month the Pentagon at Trump’s behest informed Congress that $3.8 billion that was supposed to go towards weapons, vehicle parts, and other military equipment would instead be spent on the wall.
“Use of these additional federal funds for the construction of a border wall is contrary to Congress’s intent and in violation of the U.S. Constitution, including separation of powers principles, the Presentment Clause, and the Appropriations Clause. This use would divert funding that has been appropriated to support the active military, the states’ National Guard units, and other DOD projects in Plaintiff States, including, on information and belief, military construction projects, for the non-appropriated purpose of constructing a border wall,” the lawsuit reads.
“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 New York Attorney General Letitia James on behalf of her state.
It remains to be seen how the lawsuit shakes out, but our public servants should be commended for standing up to this disastrous administration. There is no excuse for wasting crucial defense dollars on this wasteful wall and this kind of idiocy cannot be allowed to become normalized.