President Trump’s emergency funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border was illegal as Congress has clearly tried to limit the amount of money the president can spend to reinforce the southern border, ruled Texas federal Judge David Briones, a Clinton appointee, on Friday.
The story: The ruling signifies a victory for the Border Network for Human Rights, which along with El Paso County has filed a lawsuit arguing Trump exceeded his power by spending more than what was approved by Congress.
The Trump administration promptly condemned the ruling, with the Department of Homeland Security’ saying in a statement: “Judicial overreach run rampant. The Trump Administration will keep fighting to secure the border and solve the humanitarian crisis we face.”
Mark Morgan, the acting Customs and Border Protection (CBP) commissioner, who criticized “judicial activism” on Tuesday, revealed that the Trump administration has already built 71 miles of new border wall, and seeks to build an additional 450 miles by the end of the year.
“As this administration, this President, is coming up with these new initiatives and regs and policies, and even though judicial activities is trying to enjoin those and put up obstacles, at the end of the day, Congress’s failure to act is the issue,” Morgan said, according to The Daily Caller.
Trump issued a proclamation in February directing the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security to redirect funds approved by Congress for other projects toward the southern border.
“The current situation at the southern border presents a border security and humanitarian crisis that threatens core national security interests and constitutes a national emergency,” Trump said in the proclamation.
The lawsuit: “The longer the President’s Proclamation remains in effect, the more the County’s reputation will be tarnished in the eyes of tourists and developers,” the plaintiffs wrote in a filing in April.
Kristy Parker, an attorney who represented the plaintiffs, said in a statement:
“Throughout history, democracies have been felled by overzealous leaders who sought to aggrandize their own powers under the banner of real or imagined ‘emergencies.’”
“Our Founders were wise enough to anticipate that danger and created a strong separation of powers to prevent that from happening here,” Parker added. “Today’s ruling vindicates the Founders’ wisdom and confirms that the president is not a king, and that he cannot override Congress’s power to decide how to appropriate funds.”