Three groups are suing the Trump administration over a plan to allocate an additional $3.8 billion in Department of Defense (DOD) funding for the border wall.
"The president is doubling down on his unlawful scheme to raid taxpayer funds for a xenophobic campaign promise that is destroying national treasures, harming the environment, and desecrating tribal lands,” said Dror Ladin, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
The ACLU, along with the Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC), filed the suit in federal court in California on Friday.
DOD notified Congress this month that it would transfer an additional $3.8 billion to be used for the wall.
The notice to Congress said that the money would come from weapons programs like the F-35 fighter jet and would go toward the “support of higher priority items.”
It said the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “has identified areas along the southern border of the United States that are being used by individuals, groups, and transnational criminal organizations as drug smuggling corridors, and determined that the construction of additional physical barriers and roads in the vicinity of the United States border is necessary in order to impede and deny drug smuggling activities.”
The new lawsuit claims that the administration has "acted to circumvent Congress’s exclusive control over appropriations" and that its action "will have devastating effects on the environment."
"The Trump administration’s illegal transfer of billions of dollars for wall construction has created a disaster in the borderlands,” said Sierra Club managing attorney Gloria Smith in a statement.
“The destruction of cultural sites, Tribal burial grounds, endangered species, protected cacti and water resources shows that Trump will stop at nothing for this wall — not irreplaceable resources nor the Constitution," Smith added.
Last year, President TrumpDonald TrumpFive reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season Giving thanks for Thanksgiving itself Immigration provision in Democrats' reconciliation bill makes no sense MORE declared a national emergency and announced that he would reallocate Defense Department funds to construction of the border wall after Congress did not allocate as much money as he wanted for the project in the federal budget.
Following that move, several groups accused the president of overreach. The Sierra Club, ACLU and SBCC previously sued the Trump administration over that decision.
The Supreme Court ruled last year that the administration could start using military funds for construction at the border, overturning a prior ruling that halted the use of those funds while litigation continues.