Vermont Joins Multi-State Lawsuit Challenging Trump's Emergency Declaration

Mar 13, 2019

Vermont is joining more than a dozen states suing the Trump administration over its declaration of a national emergency, which is intended to fund construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border.

In the lawsuit — originally filed by 16 states — state attorneys general claim the emergency declaration will divert federal funds that have already been appropriated to their states.

Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan said that when the lawsuit was first filed, about three weeks ago, his office investigated whether Vermont had money at stake.

"That question we answered in the affirmative," Donovan told VPR Wednesday. "That's why we decided to sue President [Donald] Trump and this manufactured political crisis over the wall on the southern border."

Donovan said his office has identified about $1 million in federal funding, primarily for law enforcement, that could be diverted from Vermont under the declaration.

"A million dollars is a lot of money in our state," Donovan said. "And a million dollars that goes to protect and promote our public safety, I would argue, is incredibly important."

Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Wisconsin are also now joining the lawsuit, bringing the total number of states involved to 20.

Trump made the national emergency declaration in February, a move that was quickly criticized by Vermont's congressional delegation.