Appeals Court: Trump Can Use Military Funds for Border Wall

Demonstrators protest President Donald Trump's immigration policies in El Paso Texas on January 26. File

A massive caravan of immigrants seeking asylum began moving towards the US through Mexico in Autumn 2018, which the US president characterised as a crisis and vowed to build a wall on the US-Mexican border. Today I am proud to report that the Trump administration has constructed 100 miles of border wall system along the southern border.

The 2-1 ruling on Wednesday halted a federal judge's decision in December that had prevented the government from spending $3.6 billion diverted from 127 military construction projects to pay for 175 miles of border wall.

A lower court had temporarily blocked the use of the Department of Defense funds for the construction of the wall that Trump pledged to build during his campaign for the White House. That was after Congress refused to earmark more than $1.375 billion to construct a physical barrier on the southern border. Trump had previously requested $5.7 billion from lawmakers, but Democrats balked at the price tag. As the 2020 presidential campaign proceeds, progress on the Trump border wall is expected to become a focal point once again.

The Constitution of the United States gives Congress the sole authority to appropriate taxpayer funds, so the argument is over whether the White House has the authority to override Congress in this matter.

Building a wall along the border with Mexico was one of the central proposals of his immigration plan when running for president, and it is a policy the president still often cites to fire up crowds at rallies.

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And protracted legal battles are not the only thing slowing down construction.

Three judges for the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in NY ruled to retain the nationwide injunction against the administration's public charge rule. The panel also said there was a "substantial likelihood" that the parties challenging the transfer, the county of El Paso, Texas, and the Border Network for Human Rights, didn't have standing to sue the Trump administration.

But the 100 miles are only a portion of the administration's goal to build 450 miles by the end of this year and the majority replaces wall that was already in place.

"The Fifth Circuit has lifted an illegitimate nationwide injunction entered by a lower court, and in doing so has allowed vital border wall construction to move forward using military construction funds", it said.

"This is an unlawful act by this administration, and we are going to keep challenging it", Kristy Parker of Protect Democracy Project Inc. said in a phone interview Thursday.

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