President Trump declared a national emergency at the southern border and subsequently said he would use Department of Defense funding to help construct a border wall. The decision, however, was blocked on Friday by a federal judge who claims the Trump administration may have acted extralegally in response to the border situation.
The wall, among the hiring of more border patrol agents and the use of the National Guard, have all been argued by the Trump administration as methods to combat unprecedented levels of illegal immigration but U.S. District Court Judge Haywood Gilliam claimed $1 billion in DOD funding cannot be used.
“The case is not about whether the challenged border barrier construction plan is wise or unwise. It is not about whether the plan is the right or wrong policy response to existing conditions at the southern border of the United States,” Haywood wrote in his injunction via the Washington Examiner.
“Instead, this case presents strictly legal questions regarding whether the proposed plan for funding border barrier construction exceeds the Executive Branch’s lawful authority under the Constitution and a number of statutes duly enacted by Congress,” he continued.
The Pentagon approved allocating $1 billion for the U.S Army Corps of Engineers to support the Homeland Security Department and Customs and Border Protection in constructing part of a border wall. The funds were designated to build 57 miles of 18-feet-high pedestrian fencing, and to construct and improve roads.
USA Today adds:
Trump declared a national emergency in February to allocate funds for his barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border, after Congress rejected his request for $5.7 billion for the wall.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC). They are being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Gilliam wrote in his ruling that he issued the preliminary injunction because the Sierra Club and SBCC “show that Defendants’ actions exceeded their statutory authority, and that irreparable harm will result from those actions.”