El Paso federal judge blocks Trump administration from using defense funds for border wall

Border Report

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – A federal judge in El Paso has issued a “permanent” injunction against the Trump administration, barring them from using Department of Defense funds to build a border barrier.

The judgment was issued by U.S. District Judge David Briones on Tuesday, according to court documents. It is part of the ongoing lawsuit in which El Paso County and the Border Network for Human Rights are suing President Donald Trump, in his official capacity.

The court had previously ruled it unlawful when the president declared a national emergency at the border in order to set aside military funds to pay for the construction of a border barrier.

In September, Defense Secretary Mark Esper authorized diverting $3.6 billion to finance 11 wall projects on the southern border. The Pentagon funds were in addition to the $1.3 billion allotted to the project by Congress

In the memorandum opinion issued Tuesday, Briones stated the administration can’t reallocate $3.6 billion from military construction projects to fund a border barrier. But the administration can still use about $2.5 billion in funding that was designated to prevent drug-smuggling.

The Border Network for Human Rights issued a news release on the ruling, calling the judge’s decision a victory.

“Today’s ruling is a major win for border communities and the families BNHR represents,” said Fernando Garcia, executive director of BNHR. “By issuing a border wide injunction, the court reaffirms our argument that the use of military construction funds to build the wall was an unlawful act by President Trump. To the extent this president uses his powers unlawfully to build an expensive, unnecessary wall that negatively impacts our community, BNHR will fight him in the courts and in any other appropriate venue.”

The Trump administration is expected to appeal the decision.

Border Report had previous reported which projects would have been built with the funds.

  • More than 23 miles of the barrier were to be replaced in Hidalgo and Luna Counties of New Mexico, at a cost of $476 million.
  • Five miles would be built east of the New Mexico/Arizona border, and 20 miles would be built near the Columbus Port of Entry.
  • At least 12 new miles of border barrier was to be built near El Paso, which will cost $164 million.

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