/ Modified dec 13, 2019 9:12 a.m.

US government loses two border fence funding lawsuits

Together, they block nearly $4 billion in military funds to build a new border fence.

The Trump administration has lost two major court cases this week that, together, effectively block the U.S. government from using nearly $4 billion in military funds to build a new border fence.

In a decision Wednesday, a federal district court judge ruled that the administration was trying to use military budget money on a project that Congress had already rejected using civilian money for.

Judge Haywood Gilliam wrote: "But the Court cannot blind itself to the plain reality presented in this case: the border barrier projects Defendants now assert are “necessary to support the use of the armed forces” are the very same projects Defendants sought — and failed — to build under DHS’s (Department of Homeland Security's) civilian authority, because Congress would not appropriate the requested funds."

The Southern Border Communities Coalition is one of the groups that brought the lawsuit against the US. Director Vicki Gaubeca.

"What we’re seeing is that the challenge on the emergency declaration by and large there seems to be consensus in the lower courts that this was illegal," she said.

In a separate lawsuit, brought by El Paso, a judge earlier this week issued a permanent injunction against the administration transferring military funds to build the fence. Much of the intended money was supposed to fund border fence projects from Yuma to San Diego.

Fronteras Desk
This story is from the Fronteras Desk, a collaboration of Southwestern public radio stations, including NPR 89.1. Read more from the Fronteras Desk.
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