The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals out of San Francisco has upheld a 2019 ruling that said President Trump’s diversion of millions of dollars to fund the construction of a border wall between the US and Mexico is illegal.
The 9th Circuit upheld a December 2019 district court ruling in favor of litigation advanced by the Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition that sought to find the President’s use of emergency powers to divert funds not appropriated specifically for the wall outside his authority.
Originally, Congress appropriated $1.3 billion toward the construction of the border wall instead of the administration’s requested $5.7 billion. Trump, due to the massive flow of illegal immigration over the southern US border at the time, invoked the National Emergencies Act and declared an emergency at the southern border.
Despite Congress’ tacit affirmation of the need for enhanced border security along the US-Mexico border via the funding that was appropriated, the panel found 2-to-1 that the diverted funds were unlawful, going against the Constitution’s separation of powers clause.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that President Donald Trump may not proceed with a plan to allocate $3.6 billion in military construction funds to build barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border.https://t.co/GOTapK71OV
— azcentral (@azcentral) October 10, 2020
“Particularly in the context of this case, where Congress declined to fund the very projects at issue and attempted to terminate the declaration of a national emergency (twice), we cannot interpret the statute to give the Executive Branch unfettered discretion to divert funds to any land it deems under military jurisdiction,” Chief Circuit Judge Sidney Thomas, a Clinton appointee, wrote in the ruling.
“As demonstrated by this case,” he continued, “this would allow the Federal Defendants to redirect funds at will without regard for the normal appropriations process.”
According information released by the Customs & Border Protection Service, workers are on track to finishing about 450 miles by the end of 2020. Approximately 341 miles have been built so far.