Appeals Court Halts Work On Trump’s Border Wall

The Texas Tribune reports:

A federal appeals court ruled late Friday that President Donald Trump’s use of his emergency powers to build his long-promised border wall with military funds is illegal, striking a blow to one of his signature campaign promises just weeks before the November election. The 2-1 decision from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals comes as $3.6 billion was slated for construction of about a dozen projects, including two projects in the Laredo and El Paso areas.

The money was diverted from funds dedicated for military construction after the president declared a national emergency in February 2019 to tap the funds. The projects in Texas would have covered more than 60 miles. “The courts have once again confirmed what everyone knows: Trump’s fake ‘national emergency’ was just another pretext for targeting immigrants and border communities,” said Dror Ladin, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s National Security Project.

The Hill reports:

According to the ruling, Trump’s national emergency proclamation also declared “that this emergency requires use of the Armed Forces” because although he “could do the wall over a longer period of time” by going through Congress, he would “rather do it much faster.”

Esper then announced that $3.6 billion reserved for military construction projects would be diverted to fund eleven specific border wall construction projects in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Altogether, the projects include 175 miles of border wall, according to court documents.

In a press release issued Saturday, Gloria Smith, managing attorney at the Sierra Club, called the appeals court decision “monumental for border communities, wildlife and lands.”