Wall Funding Fight Moves to Texas

Press Releases

July 1, 2019

IRLI, Congressman Barr urge dismissal of politically-motivated suit

WASHINGTON – Activist groups (including the House of Representatives) are suing President Trump in numerous federal courts across the country in an attempt to overturn his declaration of a national emergency at the border, and stop the administration from building a border wall in response to that emergency. In a friend-of-the-court brief drafted by the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), Congressman Andy Barr of Kentucky argues that yet another of these cases, this one in the Western District of Texas, should be dismissed.

In essence, the County of El Paso, Texas, and the private activist groups bringing this case claim that Trump lacked the constitutional and statutory authority to declare a national emergency and then veto a joint resolution of the House and Senate to terminate that emergency. In their brief, IRLI and Rep. Barr (himself a former professor of constitutional law) note that when Congress passed the National Emergencies Act (NEA) in 1976, it intended to give the President maximum flexibility in declaring national emergencies, and so included no statutory language whatsoever to define what a national emergency might be. To reign in any presidential overreaching, the NEA provides that Congress can terminate a national emergency declared by the President with a two-thirds majority. IRLI and Barr show that by refusing to define the word “emergency,” and enacting this political process for reviewing presidential declarations, Congress meant to exclude courts from reviewing them altogether.

“This suit is the latest in an endless series of challenges by anti-borders groups and politicians that are meant to deny President Trump the ability to govern as other Presidents have done,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “He has every right to declare a national emergency, to veto a joint resolution to terminate that emergency, and to unlock and spend appropriated funds in ways allowed by Congress. That is not Trump doing an end-run around Congress; rather, this lawsuit is an ideological group’s attempt to hijack the courts to perform yet another end-run around our constitutional system of government.”

The case is County of El Paso v. Trump, No. 3:19-cv-0066 (W.D. Tex.).

For additional information, contact: Brian Lonergan • 202-232-5590 • [email protected]

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