Navigation
Download the AMN app for your mobile device today - FREE!
  •  

Court says Trump can use $3.6B from Pentagon for border wall; overturning lower court

President Donald Trump tours the border wall prototypes near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in San Diego County, Calif., on March 13, 2018. (K.C. Alfred/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)
January 09, 2020

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a lower court’s injunction barring the Trump administration from using $3.6 billion in Pentagon funding to construct a wall on the southern border with Mexico.

President Donald Trump announced the appeals court’s decision in a Thursday tweet. Trump said, “The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals just reversed a lower court decision & gave us the go ahead to build one of the largest sections of the desperately needed Southern Border Wall, Four Billion Dollars.”

Trump went on to say the entire wall, which had been a key part of his 2016 presidential platform, was under construction or getting ready to start.

The appeals court decision comes as a reversal to a decision by Judge David Briones, of the US District Court for the Western District of Texas, in which Briones barred the Trump administration from using $3.6 billion in diverted Pentagon funds for wall construction.

- ADVERTISEMENT -

According to Politico, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Briones’ decision in a 2-1 vote. Two Republican appointees voted in favor of temporarily setting aside Briones’ injunction on wall construction while the sole Democratic appointee on the panel sought to uphold the lower court decision.

In assessing this latest appeal, the majority on the 5th Circuit Court noted a July Supreme Court ruling against a similar injunction effort that attempted to block another $2.5 billion in Pentagon funding allocated for wall construction.

Last February, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency and moved around $6.5 billion over to wall construction, in addition to $1.375 billion approved by Congress for border security efforts.

Trump’s decision has since prompted numerous legal battles as well as an effort by Congress in February of 2019 to cancel out the national emergency declaration. Both the House and the Senate approved the measure in February, but without a strong enough majority to overcome Trump’s veto.

Congress again passed a measure against the national emergency declaration in September, only to fail a second time with Trump’s veto.

Wall construction – drawing from the $3.6 billion currently in question – had already begun in September, just two days after Defense Secretary Mark Esper fully authorized the funds. The $3.6 billion allotment would reportedly cover around 175 miles of new wall.

It is not yet clear how much construction has taken place from that Pentagon allotment, while legal challenges have persisted in recent months.