Federal judge blocks plan to divert $3.6B in military funding for border wall

A federal judge blocked $3.6 billion in military funding the Trump administration planned to divert to pay for construction of a border wall. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

Dec. 11 (UPI) — A federal judge on Tuesday ruled to block the Trump administration’s plan to pay for construction on a physical barrier on the U.S.-Mexico border with diverted military funds.

District Court Judge David Briones issued a permanent injunction, blocking the administration’s efforts to divert $3.6 billion from 127 military construction projects to 11 projects that would establish 175 miles of new or reconstructed wall along the border with Mexico.

Briones ruled in favor of El Paso County, Texas, and Border Network for Human Rights, which stated President Donald Trump acted outside of his authority when he declared a national emergency to acquire additional funds for the barrier.

They also alleged the declaration failed to meet the definition of an emergency outlined in the National Emergencies Act.

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“The president is not a king and he cannot usurp Congress’s powers for himself. We must keep fighting to ensure our constitutional system of governance is preserved,” Protect Democracy, a nonprofit which represented the groups, wrote on Twitter.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper approved the reallocation of funds in September, describing them as “necessary to support the use of armed forces in connection with the national emergency” Trump declared at the southern border.

At the time, the Pentagon said the military projects that funds were diverted from would not be canceled and could continue as planned if Congress voted to appropriate funds to them again.

Tuesday’s ruling does not affect other funds designated for construction along the southern border.

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