Suit challenges fund diversion for border wall

border wall

Three groups filed suit against the Trump administration on Feb. 29 in federal court over the administration’s diversion of funds allocated to the Department of Defense for border wall construction. The Trump administration has announced its plan to use $3.6 billion in military construction funds and $2.5 billion in other military funds for wall construction. The administration is attempting to use these funds despite Congress’ exclusive appropriation of $1.375 billion for border wall construction under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019. When President Trump signed the CAA into law, he also issued Proclamation 9844, declaring a national emergency along the southern border. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Sierra Club, and Southern Border Communities Coalition sued, asking the US District Court for the Northern District of California to block the diversion of the funds. They claim that as Congress did not appropriate the funds for border wall construction, the president’s actions usurp the constitutional budget allocation powers of the Legislative Branch.

In a press release accompanying the suit, Gloria Smith, the managing attorney at the Sierra Club, expressed the organization’s environmental and humanitarian concerns over the wall:

The Trump administration’s illegal transfer of billions of dollars for wall construction has created a disaster in the borderlands. The destruction of cultural sites, Tribal burial grounds, endangered species, protected cacti and water resources shows that Trump will stop at nothing for this wall—not irreplaceable resources nor the Constitution. Trump wants a blank check for these destructive projects, but it is imperative that the courts continue to halt his egregious abuse of power.

The suit follows a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in early January to permit the release $3.6 billion for wall construction. The Supreme Court additionally ruled in 2019 that the Trump administration could use $2.5 billion of Department of Defense funds for border wall construction.

From Jurst, March 2. Used with permission.

Photo: Tomas Castelazo/Wikimedia Commons via NACLA