Federal judge says Trump’s use of emergency funds to build wall is unlawful

A federal judge in Texas ruled Friday that President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration to build a border wall is unlawful and appears poised to block the use of those funds.

Judge David Briones of the US District Court for the Western District of Texas, asked challengers of the wall to propose the scope of a preliminary injunction.

The lawsuit, brought by El Paso County, Texas, and Border Network for Human Rights, seeks an injunction to block Trump’s national emergency declaration. It argues that Trump overstepped his authority when he issued the declaration to gain access to additional funds for his border wall, despite receiving $1.375 billion from Congress.

The complaint also alleges that the declaration doesn’t meet the National Emergencies Act’s definition of “emergency” and pushes back against Trump’s remarks that border barriers led to a drop in crime in El Paso.

At issue, in Friday’s ruling, is the military construction funds that have been diverted to build a border wall. The judge found that the plaintiffs have standing to bring the case because of they’ve suffered harm as a result.

“Specifically, El Paso County has shown an injury to its reputation and has had to take affirmative steps to avoid harm,” Briones writes.

The judge notes that this ruling does not apply to the use of other funds for the wall, including counterdrug and Treasury Forfeiture Funds, that have been designated for wall construction.

 

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