A federal judge in California has issued a temporary injunction blocking money not allocated by Congress from being used to fund part of President Donald Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall.
Oakland-based Judge Haywood Gilliam Jr. of the Northern District of California issued the order Friday in response to a lawsuit by the Sierra Club and an association of border communities, reported Politico.
The injunction will give the judge time to thoroughly review the issues in the case. It is certain to be appealed.
The decision blocks the $1 billion transfer of Pentagon “counterdrug” funds so they can be used for wall construction. But it only limits construction in certain border areas in Texas and Arizona, and it does not prevent the Trump administration from seeking other funding sources for those projects, according to Politico.
Gilliam said the administration’s plan to use drug-fighting funds to finance the wall appeared to be unconstitutional because that money is only meant to be used for “unforeseen” needs.
“Defendants’ argument that the need for the requested border barrier construction funding was ‘unforeseen’ cannot logically be squared with the Administration’s multiple requests for funding for exactly that purpose dating back to at least early 2018,” Gilliam wrote.
The order may also jeopardize another $1.5 billion of the $8.1 billion the Trump administration plans to use to build the wall.
Congress appropriated only $1.375 billion for border wall construction limited to a section in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.
“The position that when Congress declines the Executive’s request to appropriate funds, the Executive nonetheless may simply find a way to spend those funds ‘without Congress’ does not square with fundamental separation of powers principles dating back to the earliest days of our Republic,” the judge wrote.
Gilliam also said the administration’s delay in using funds from the previous year undercut its claims about the urgency of the situation at the border.
There was no immediate response from the White House.
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