Trump Freed by Court to Use Military Money to Build Border Wall

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

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

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.

The 2-1 ruling halted a federal judge's ruling 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.

Ronald Reagan appointee Judge Edith Jones and Trump appointee Judge Andrew Oldham ruled to block the lower court's ruling while Judge Stephen Higginson, a Barack Obama appointee, dissented.

"It's unfortunate that the people of El Paso will continue to suffer harm while the government appeals, but we're confident that we'll prevail again in this next stage of litigation", she added. On the campaign trail, Trump vowed to crack down on illegal immigration and said a border wall would deter migrants from unlawfully entering the county.

The court also ruled that the White House, which is appealing a lower court injunction against the public charge rule, must submit legal documents for the appeal by February 14, while oral arguments will be heard soon after the submission. "We're very happy to put this before any judge in the land - liberal or conservative". Congress has the power of the purse, and we have an executive who is trying to usurp that power.

The attorneys said they planned to huddle with their clients right away to decide whether to ask the entire New Orleans appeals court to re-hear the appeal or instead ask the Supreme Court to step into the challenge.

The Trump administration has built 100 miles of new wall along the US-Mexico border - the majority of which is replacing previous construction - acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced in Arizona on Friday, as the administration touts its record ahead of the presidential election.

The president declared a national emergency past year and turned to the Pentagon for funding after the House of Representatives refused to allocate all of the money he sought for construction of the wall.

In essence, Trump's declaration enabled him to draw billions more dollars beyond the $1.3 billion that Congress specifically authorized for border wall funding. The Trump administration has attempted to restrict the number of legal immigrants who would require such assistance, by applying the public charge designation to any immigrant who requires government assistance for more than 12 months within a three-year period. "That's hard to say".

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