Donald Trump’s administration is being sued by federal employees as the ongoing government shutdown continued to wreak havoc across the country, having prompted the closure of a major international airport terminal.
The lawsuit was filed as hundreds of thousands of workers continued to go without pay and the partial shutdown entered its 24th day, making it the longest in history.
Employees at US customs and border protection, the bureau of prisons and federal aviation administration had already filed lawsuits but a new case has now invoked the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude.
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Four plaintiffs, three who work for the departments of justice, agriculture and transportation and one who is an air traffic controller, have claimed that Mr Trump has violated a number of laws, according to the Washington Post.
They argue that despite not being paid they have to report to work or they face the threat of losing their jobs – a situation they believe is in violation of the 13th Amendment.
It is estimated that about 800,000 federal workers across the country have not been paid for their work and government departments are underfunded and understaffed.
Meanwhile, the shutdown caused a terminal at Houston’s George Bush International Airport to close amid a shortage of security workers.
In a statement, the airport said Terminal B was closed due to “staffing issues” and it was unclear when the terminal would reopen.
Mr Trump has threatened to declare a national emergency to bypass congress and force through the spending plan at the centre of the dispute, which includes $5.7bn (£4.5bn) funding his controversial border wall contested by Democrats.
On Friday, however, he said he would not declare an emergency situation “right now”.
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