A federal judge appointed by President Bill Clinton issued a nationwide injunction on Tuesday against the Trump administration to block plans by the White House to allocate $3.6 billion for new border wall construction.
Judge David Briones of the Western District of Texas issued a permanent nationwide injunction (pdf) on Tuesday, ruling that the administration’s move to redirect the funds is “unlawful.”
The White House is expected to appeal the ruling.
Briones ruled in favor of plaintiffs El Paso County, Texas, and immigrant rights group Border Network for Human Rights, who sued the administration on Oct. 11.
The suit claims that President Trump’s national emergency declaration on Feb. 15 was a violation of the 2019 Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA).
Plaintiffs specifically cited Section 739 of the law prohibiting funds covered under the statute from being used for any project not specifically listed in the legislation.
“After due consideration, the Court is of the opinion that a declaratory judgment and permanent injunction shall be granted in Plaintiffs’ favor,” Briones ruled.
“It is finally ordered” that officials from the Trump administration are “permanently enjoined” from using the funds beyond the $1,375 billion in the 2019 CAA for border wall construction, he wrote.
“Defendants do not have compelling reasons justifying an administrative stay of this decision as they have requested, though they are free to pursue a stay pending an appeal before the Fifth Circuit,” Briones added.
The Trump administration has argued that the president has authority under the National Emergencies Act to re-appropriate Pentagon funds not specifically earmarked for defense projects to border wall construction.