A federal judge in Texas on Tuesday blocked President Donald Trump’s use of military funds to pay for a southern border wall. The Trump administration has tried various ways to secure money for wall construction. It even sought to use billions from a Pentagon counter-narcotics fund, which the U.S. Supreme Court allowed in July. But this latest ruling from District Court Judge David Briones in El Paso squashes some of the administration’s progress.
Nick Miroff is an immigration reporter for The Washington Post, and says Briones specifically blocked access to $3.6 billion from the Pentagon.
“He said that the administration did not have the authority to take this money that wasn’t appropriated by Congress,” Miroff says.
That money would have paid for almost 175 miles worth of border wall – a portion of the 450 miles of wall Trump has promised.
The administration will appeal the case in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, but Miroff says the case could end up in the Supreme Court.
But there are portions of the wall already being built. Miroff says the administration has built 90 miles so far, in various locations, but that most of that construction has replaced existing barriers with new bollard fencing.
The administration is pushing to build more wall in Texas but will have to use eminent domain to do so because much of the borderlands are privately owned. Miroff says one private group, We Build the Wall, is raising money to build on private property, though that group has been thwarted by regulation and a temporary restraining order.
“The groups lack the permit it needs from the International Boundary Water Commission,” Miroff says. “That is the group that must authorize any construction in the floodplain of the Rio Grande.”
Written by Caroline Covington.