SACRAMENTO, June 26, 2020 – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today secured a favorable decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirming that the Trump Administration’s diversion of $2.5 billion to build an unauthorized wall at the border was unlawful. The District Court had previously declared the diversion of funds unlawful and granted the Sierra Club’s motion for a preliminary injunction. The Supreme Court stayed that injunction through the course of the appellate litigation. Today’s ruling addresses the District Court’s final judgment in favor of California and New Mexico.
“Today, the court reminded the President – once again – that no one is above the law,” said Attorney General Becerra. “While the Trump Administration steals public funds to build an unauthorized wall at the Southern border, families across the country are struggling to pay their bills. They deserve to know that their hard-earned dollars are going where the law intended – to benefit their families and their communities.”
The Ninth Circuit’s ruling comes after more than a year of litigation by Attorney General Becerra, California’s partner states, and community-based organizations. On February 18, 2019, Attorney General Becerra and California Governor Gavin Newsom challenged the unlawful diversion of funds for the 2019 fiscal year, filing a multistate lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. On June 28, 2019, the court granted in part California’s motion for partial summary judgment and found the Trump Administration’s diversion of funding for construction of a wall along the Southern border to be unlawful.
Attorney General Becerra has continued to lead the charge against President Trump’s unlawful attempts to divert funding toward construction of a Trump wall. In a separate lawsuit, Attorney General Becerra challenged the Trump Administration’s diversion in the 2020 fiscal year of more than $3.8 billion in funds that Congress appropriated to the Department of Defense. More than 20 percent, $890 million, of those funds had been allocated to state National Guard units for the purchase of equipment critical to responding to natural disasters and other emergencies. Litigation in that case is ongoing.
A copy of the decision can be found here.