El Paso federal judge blocks Trump administration from using defense funds for border wall

The Border Wall

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — A federal judge in El Paso has issued a “permanent” injunction barring the Trump administration from using Department of Defense funds to build a border barrier.

The judgment was issued by U.S. District Judge David Briones on Tuesday, according to court documents. It is part of the ongoing lawsuit in which El Paso County and the Border Network for Human Rights are suing President Donald Trump, in his official capacity.

The court had previously ruled it unlawful when the president declared a national emergency at the border in order to set aside military funds to pay for the construction of a border barrier.

In September, Defense Secretary Mark Esper authorized diverting $3.6 billion to finance 11 wall projects on the southern border. The Pentagon funds were in addition to the $1.3 billion allotted to the project by Congress

In the memorandum opinion issued Tuesday, Briones stated the administration can’t reallocate $3.6 billion from military construction projects to fund a border barrier. But the administration can still use about $2.5 billion in treasury forfeiture funding and funding that was designated to prevent drug-smuggling.

The Border Network for Human Rights issued a news release on the ruling, calling the judge’s decision a victory.

“Today’s ruling is a major win for border communities and the families BNHR represents,” said Fernando Garcia, executive director of BNHR. “By issuing a border wide injunction, the court reaffirms our argument that the use of military construction funds to build the wall was an unlawful act by President Trump. To the extent this president uses his powers unlawfully to build an expensive, unnecessary wall that negatively impacts our community, BNHR will fight him in the courts and in any other appropriate venue.”

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The mission of BorderReport.com is to provide real-time delivery of the untold local stories about people living, working and migrating along the U.S. border with Mexico. The information is gathered by experienced and trusted Nexstar Media Group journalists hired specifically to cover the border.