Legal advocacy group Public Citizen filed the first legal challenge to US President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration seeking declaratory and injunctive relief on behalf of three Texas landowners and a non-profit environmental group.
The complaint alleges that the necessary seizures of property from the Texas landowners would constitute an “imminent invasion of their privacy and the quiet enjoyment of their land, both during construction and after.” The complaint further alleges that the construction of a border wall would cause injury by destroying “critical habitat” for local wildlife, thus impairing the environmental group’s members the ability to observe wildlife.
According to the complaint, “the border wall will be part of an approximately 150 foot wide enforcement zone” that is proposed to run through all three landowner Plaintiff’s properties.
Public Citizen argues that Trump has exceeded his authority by invoking the National Emergency Act (NEA) to order the building of a border wall because “no national emergency exists with respect to immigration across the southern border,” and that Trump has “usurp[ed] legislative authority conferred by the Constitution on the Congress,” and “violate[d] the separation of powers.”
Additionally, the complaint alleges that it is unlawful for Trump to use the Emergency Declaration to divert $8.1 Billion in funds from the Department of Defense and other sources to begin construction of border wall projects merely because Congress refused to allocate such funds.
In addition to this suit, the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife and Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit Saturday. On Sunday, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced plans to file a lawsuit along with several other states. The American Civil Liberties Union has also pledged to file a lawsuit.