President Donald Trump’s signature wall project, received another hitch on the road after the US federal judge issued a temporary injunction against using Defense Department funds to pay for barriers on the border with Mexico.
Trump declared an emergency in a bid to bypass Congress and obtain money for border wall construction after a standoff overpaying for the project led to the longest government shutdown in US history.
About 20 states, including Democratic strongholds New York and California, along with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), environmental groups and border communities are involved in suits that claim the emergency declaration violates the constitution.
Trump administration officials “are enjoined from taking any action to construct a border barrier in the areas defendants have identified as Yuma Sector Project 1 and El Paso Sector Project 1 using funds reprogrammed by DoD,” Judge Haywood Gilliam ordered, referring to the Department of Defense.
Trump said he was asking for an “expedited appeal.”
“Another activist Obama appointed judge has just ruled against us on a section of the Southern Wall that is already under construction. This is a ruling against Border Security and in favour of crime, drugs and human trafficking,” he said in a tweet.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan approved the diversion of funds from the department’s counter-narcotics budget to build barriers along with parts of the border — a move that was in turn funded by the diversion of $1 billion from army personnel funds, according to Gilliam’s order.
The judge wrote he granted the preliminary injunction because the plaintiffs are likely to show that Trump administration officials “exceeded their statutory authority and that irreparable harm will result from those actions.”