News & Politics

Court Rules Trump Administration Can Tap $3.5 Billion in Military Funds for Wall

A man holds a Mexican migrant child as he jumps the border fence to get into the U.S. side to San Diego, Calif., from Tijuana, Mexico, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

In a welcome victory for border security advocates, a federal appeals court agreed to lift an injunction that was blocking the Trump administration from tapping military construction funds to build a wall.

The 5th Circuit Court, based in New Orleans, ruled 2-1 that wall construction could proceed while the appeal was heard. And the two Republican judges may have put a nail in the coffin of the groups opposing the issue by questioning whether they even had standing to sue in the first place.

There are challenges in several circuits to Trump’s declaration of a national emergency last year and his subsequent earmarking of $6 billion in military construction funds to build the wall. The Supreme Court lifted one injunction against the administration’s use of the funds and it’s probable that more are headed its way.

The decision by the 5th circuit was short on specifics.


The 5th Circuit panel’s majority did not provide a detailed explanation for its action, but noted that last July the Supreme Court stayed a similar injunction issued by a federal judge in Oakland, Calif.

Judges Edith Jones, an appointee of President Ronald Reagan, and Andrew Oldham, a Trump appointee, also said there was a “substantial likelihood” that the plaintiffs in the Texas-based suit — the City of El Paso and the Border Network for Human Rights — lacked legal standing to pursue their claims that Trump’s planned spending violated appropriations limits imposed by Congress.

Judge Stephen Higginson, an appointee of President Barack Obama, said he was not convinced that the Justice Department had a winning case or that there was great urgency justifying the stay.

But in a blow to Trump’s efforts to control immigration, a judge ruled that the “public charge rule” proposed last fall by the administration cannot go forward at this time. The rule would have allowed immigration authorities to consider whether a potential immigrant could afford health insurance or pay for medical care out of their own pocket.

The appeals court also allowed for an expedited hearing on the case.


The rule had been challenged in this case by New York state, New York City, Connecticut, Vermont and several nonprofits.

“Today is a victory for the millions of immigrants in our state and in this country that have been sidelined, disrespected, and demeaned by the Trump administration,” said New York state Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat.

New York City’s corporation counsel, James Johnson, added that the rule was “an affront to the city’s values” and would “immeasurably harm its immigrant communities.”

I guess it’s OK to harm other communities by placing the financial burden of supporting destitute new arrivals on taxpayers. Aren’t they a “community” too?

This rule was in trouble from the moment it was published. Unfortunately, not all good ideas become law.