Trump barred from moving $3.6 billion from military to fund border wall construction: Federal court
Salon•October 13, 2020
Donald Trump; Border Wall
Donald Trump | US-Mexico Border Wall Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images
A federal appeals court ruled late Friday that President Donald Trump's use of his emergency powers to build his long-promised border wall with military funds is illegal, striking a blow to one of his signature campaign promises just weeks before the November election.
The 2-1 decision from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals comes as $3.6 billion was slated for construction of about a dozen projects, including two projects in the Laredo and El Paso areas. The money was diverted from funds dedicated for military construction after the president declared a national emergency in February 2019 to tap the funds. The projects in Texas would have covered more than 60 miles, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
"The courts have once again confirmed what everyone knows: Trump's fake 'national emergency' was just another pretext for targeting immigrants and border communities," said Dror Ladin, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU's National Security Project. "It's past time for Trump to finally give up on trying to raid the federal budget for his wasteful and illegal project."
The lawsuit, Sierra Club v. Trump, was filed last year by the ACLU on behalf of the Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition. The ruling Friday upholds a 2019 decision that halted the construction. But that order was put on hold, said Gloria Smith, the managing attorney at the Sierra Club.