The activists who sued the US government to block the construction of a wall on the border with Mexico showed this Saturday hopeful of the judicial decision that freezes part of the funds for this project, although President Donald Trump has already said he will appeal.
“The court order prevents the Administration from beginning work on the first projects to build the border wall that the Administration has announced,” a spokesperson for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) told Efe on Saturday, requesting anonymity and whose organization represents the plaintiffs in this case.
Yesterday, the judge of the Northern District Court of California, Haywood Gilliam, named in his day by the previous president, Barack Obama (2009-2017), partially blocked Trump’s plan to finance the border wall through funds from the Department of Defense, for which it used the national emergency that they declared in February to avoid Congress, where Democrats oppose.
The ruling freezes the transfer of about $ 1 billion from the Pentagon budget to pay for the barrier at the border and limits the creation of parts of the wall, but does not stop its construction.
Specifically, the judge prevents the government from “taking any action to build the border barrier” using funds diverted from the Department of Defense in the areas of Yuma and El Paso, in the states bordering Mexico of Arizona and Texas, respectively.
The ACLU spokesman recalled that the cost of the first construction projects announced by the Administration amounted to 1,000 million dollars, which have been diverted from the Pentagon funds, specifically “from the payments of the military and pension accounts ”
“With the temporary blockade, the court can make a final decision on our client’s request, as well as on the wall construction projects that the Administration has already announced, and assess whether it challenges new sections of the border wall,” the ACLU source said.
However, Trump, who arrived in Japan on Saturday on a state visit, expressed on Twitter his intention to appeal the ruling:
“Another activist judge appointed by (Barack) Obama has ruled against us on a section of the South Wall that is already under construction, this is a ruling against Border Security and in favor of crime, drugs and human trafficking. We are asking for a quick appeal, “the president tweeted.
The Congress approved in February 1,375 million dollars to erect the wall, a figure that was very far from the 5,700 million that Trump had requested, which led the president to declare a national emergency on the border with Mexico in order to achieve those funds without the need for them to be authorized by the Legislative, the lower house being controlled by the Democrats.
With the national emergency, the Government reassigned to the wall about 6.600 million dollars previously approved for the Pentagon and the Department of the Treasury and that added to the 1.375 million that the Congress did destine to the wall had to serve for the construction of 376 kilometers and allow the president begin to fulfill his main campaign promise.
However, Judge Gilliam considered in his ruling that “the absolute control of Congress over federal expenditures – even when that control may frustrate the wishes of the executive branch in relation to initiatives it considers important – is not a failure of the constitutional system. On the contrary, it is an essential characteristic of it.”
In the complaint, the Sierra Club plaintiffs and the Southern Border Communities Coalition, represented by the ACLU, maintain that the declaration of a national emergency to divert funds for the wall is “unconstitutional.”
In his brief, the judge clarified that this case is not to establish whether the construction of the wall is a “sensible or not” decision, nor to see if that plan is the correct political response to address the situation on the southern border of the United States , but to determine if the Executive has exceeded its prerogatives in its financing.
Friday’s ruling is temporary and urgent, waiting for Gilliam to take more time to study the case before issuing a final judgment.
In the same court there is another lawsuit against the wall presented by 16 states governed by the Democrats and headed by California, on which the judge has refused to issue a temporary restrictive order as in the other case, although he has given the green light for the cause continue