In their second move challenging President Donald Trump in court, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul on Wednesday joined a multi-state lawsuit seeking to overturn the president's national emergency declaration to spend billions of dollars on a border wall between the U.S.-Mexico border.
"Diverting federal funds away from Wisconsin to pay for a border wall would do little to enhance our security but have real consequences for communities in Wisconsin," Kaul said in a statement. "If Congress had chosen to divert those funds, that would simply be bad policy. Here, however, the President issued an unfounded emergency declaration after Congress decided not to fund the border wall. That action is inconsistent with the constitutional mandate of separation of powers."
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of 16 states led by California last month, argues Trump does not have the authority to divert funds for wall construction because Congress, not the president, controls spending. Wisconsin was one of four states to join the lawsuit on Wednesday.
Evers and Kaul said several weeks ago they were considering whether to join the lawsuit.
Trump declared a national emergency last month, arguing it was needed to halt "an invasion of drugs and criminals coming into our country."
However, Trump also said, "I didn’t need to do this, but I’d rather do it much faster."
White House officials have said the declaration, supplemented by other budgeting moves, will allow Trump to direct an additional $6.7 billion away from other projects and toward an additional 234 miles of wall construction.
"The president’s declaration is reckless and unconstitutional," Evers said in a statement. "This isn’t how a democracy is supposed to work. There is simply not ample evidence to support the president’s contention that there exists a national security crisis at our southwestern border. The real crisis at our border is the separation of children from their families."
Using similar rationale, Evers last month ordered the withdrawal of 112 Wisconsin National Guard troops from Arizona, where they have been assisting with border security for about six months.
"We already knew Gov. Evers was not serious about securing our border when he took WI national guard troops away from their mission there. This is just another far-Left political stunt," tweeted Republican U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy.
Shortly after Duffy weighed in, Democratic U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan tweeted in support of the move.
"Rather than supporting a nonexistent crisis, let's focus on reuniting the families that are still separated b/c of @realDonaldTrump," Pocan tweeted.
Earlier this month, Evers and Kaul announced that Wisconsin would join a multi-state lawsuit challenging a Trump administration policy that would direct tens of millions of federal family planning dollars away from Planned Parenthood.