A federal judge on Friday issued a permanent injunction blocking President Donald Trump’s administration from redirecting billions of dollars in military funds to build a wall on the country’s southern border.
The ruling, by U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam in Northern California federal court, affirmed his previous decision and made permanent last month’s injunction which temporarily stopped the administration from redirecting military funds for a border wall.
Gilliam’s order halted construction on two planned border fencing projects that would have erected approximately 79 miles of barrier along areas of the southern border in California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas.
Following President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the southern order, the administration was attempting to use $1.5 billion in Department of Defense funds transferred from military pay and training accounts.
The administration claimed that Trump’s emergency declaration afforded it the right to redirect military funds for the projects because the need for the funding was “unforeseen,” despite the issue being reviewed and rejected by Congress.
Gilliam was not convinced, writing that the administration presented “no new evidence or argument for why the court should depart from its prior decision, and it will not.”
According to the ruling, the administration’s plan to redirect defense funding appeared to be illegal because the need for a wall on the southern border was not “unforeseen,” particularly where Trump had demanded funding for such a project since the inception of his presidential candidacy.
“Defendants do not have the purported statutory authority to reprogram and use funds for the planned border barrier construction,” Gilliam wrote. “Absent such authority, Defendants’ position on these factors boils down to an argument that the Court should not enjoin conduct found to be unlawful because the ends justify the means. No case supports this principle.”
The ruling, which was based on lawsuits filed by several entities, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Sierra Club, the Southern Border Communities Coalition, and California and New Mexico, found the permanent injunction necessary because the plaintiffs would suffer irreparable harm in “their ability to recreate in and otherwise enjoy public land along the border.”
“These rulings critically stop President Trump’s illegal money grab to divert $2.5 billion of unauthorized funding for his pet project,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said following the ruling. “All President Trump has succeeded in building is a constitutional crisis, threatening immediate harm to our state.”
Gilliam’s order also allowed for an immediate appeal of his decision and the administration is expected to file an emergency motion over the weekend.
[image via SAUL LOEB_AFP_Getty Images]