Officials with the Trump Administration have announced plans to appeal an order issued by a U.S. District Court in San Francisco preventing the usage of Defense Department funding in the building of a section of a border between the U.S. and Mexico.
U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam issued a ruling contending that the Trump Administration was in the wrong to use Department of Defense money for the project, contrary to the wishes of Congress.
“Congress’s ‘absolute’ control over federal expenditures—even when that control may frustrate the desires of the Executive Branch regarding initiatives it views as important—is not a bug in our constitutional system,” wrote Gilliam in his order.
“It’s a feature of that system, and an essential one,” the Judge continued.
The wall work, in particular, pertains to two separate projects: one spanning around 5 miles in Yuma, Arizona; and the second running 47 miles in New Mexico.
When an earlier Administration proposal for funding the two projects went nowhere in Congress, Trump announced he would use already-approved Defense Department funding for the work.
The funding appropriated by the Administration included $600 million from the Department of the Treasury’s asset forfeiture fund; $2.5 billion from the Defense Department’s counterdrug activities; and $3.6 billion that had earlier been pegged for military construction projects.
Gilliam did not rule on the $3.6 billion amount because the Trump Administration has not yet said how it wanted to use that money.
While opponents of the wall project hailed Gilliam’s decision, the ruling may not be permanent for the simple reason that the District Court was looking at whether the Defense and Treasury department funds could be used while lawsuits filed by a host of state attorneys general and the American Civil Liberties Union are still being considered.
In a statement, the ACLU, which filed the lawsuit to stop the funding of the two projects on behalf of the San Diego-based Southern Border Communities Coalition and the Sierra Club, called Gilliam’s ruling a “win for our system of checks and balances, the rule of law, and border communities.”
Trump described the ruling as being “against border security and in favor of crime, drugs and human trafficking.” The President additionally promised to file what he called “an expedited appeal” of Gilliam’s order.
By Garry Boulard
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