United States court blocks funds for parts of Mexico border wall

A man sleeps next to the U.S. border wall topped with razor wire in Tijuana Mexico Sunday

U.S. judge expands ban on constructing sections of Trump’s border wall in Calif., Ariz., while also clearing way for quick appeal

Yesterday, Federal District Judge Haywood Gilliam of the Northern District of California issued two rulings against President Trump's effort to reallocate military funds to build his proposed border wall.

Two lawsuits sought to stop the transfer. Judge Gilliam, an Obama appointee, turned his previous temporary injunction into a permanent injunction, which barred the Trump administration from building the wall in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

"We're immediately appealing it, and we think we'll win the appeal", Trump said during a press conference Saturday at a summit of leaders of the Group of 20 major economies in Japan.

According to the ruling, the administration's plan to redirect defense funding appeared to be illegal because the need for a wall on the southern border was not "unforeseen", particularly where Trump had demanded funding for such a project since the inception of his presidential candidacy.

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Together with the U.S. Justice Department, both sides had asked Gilliam to speed up his ruling and enter final judgment so one of the president's signature initiatives could quickly go before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

There have been 16 states to file lawsuits challenging the emergency declaration, due to constitutional concerns. The U.S. Acting Head Of Homeland Security Kevin McAleelan said Friday that border crossings are expected to be down 25% this month.

"This decision upholds the basic principle that the president has no power to spend taxpayer money without Congress' approval", he added.

Gilliam was not convinced, writing that the administration presented "no new evidence or argument for why the court should depart from its prior decision, and it will not". "We will continue to defend this core principle of our democracy, which the courts have recognized for centuries".

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The president identified $3.6 billion from military construction funds, $2.5 billion from Defense Department counterdrug activities and $600 million from the Treasury Department's asset forfeiture fund.

In February, Trump declared a national emergency to unlock billions of dollars in federal funds to build a wall on the southern border, bypassing Congress after lawmakers refused to meet his multi-billion dollar request for border wall funds.

In a final shot at the administration, Gilliam said its position "boils down to an argument that the court should not enjoin conduct found to be unlawful because the ends justify the means".

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