FederalImmigration & BorderIssuesStatewide NewsFifth Circuit Reverses Border Wall Injunction, Paving Way for $3.6 Billion in Blocked Funds to Be Used for Construction

The Fifth Circuit reversed an El Paso judge's injunction blocking the redirection of funds, arguing in part that the plaintiffs lacked standing.
January 10, 2020
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On Wednesday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court decision blocking $3.6 billion from being diverted from military construction projects for the financing of President Trump’s border wall. 

The appellate court’s ruling on Wednesday effectively lifts the nationwide injunction issued by U.S. District Judge David Briones in El Paso last month, providing additional funding for construction along the southern border.

“Breaking News: The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals just reversed a lower court decision & gave us the go-ahead to build one of the largest sections of the desperately needed Southern Border Wall, Four Billion Dollars. Entire Wall is under construction or getting ready to start!” President Trump said of the appellate court’s ruling via Twitter. 

In a 2-1 decision, the New Orleans-based court issued an order granting a request to stay after the Trump administration filed an appeal to the December decision issued by Judge Briones in El Paso.

In issuing their decision, the court noted a recent case involving border wall funding in which the Supreme Court stayed a nationwide injunction from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

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Earlier this year, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an order blocking the Trump administration from using $2.5 billion in diverted federal funds for border wall construction. 

In July, however, the Supreme Court issued a ruling in favor of the Trump administration, providing for the redirection of the $2.5 billion for the border wall while court proceedings continued. 

In addition to noting this case, the appellate court also cited the “substantial likelihood” that the City of El Paso and the Border Network for Human Rights, the plaintiffs in the original lawsuit, lacked legal standing in their claims. 

By declaring a national emergency in February to obtain the funding needed for border wall construction, the plaintiffs argued that President Trump violated the law and that both economic and reputational harm would be incurred in the El Paso region if funds were diverted for building the wall. 

Previously, Judge Briones ruled in favor of El Paso County and the Border Network for Human Rights when he found President Trump’s need for more than $6 billion for border wall construction to be unlawful, despite the fact that Congress already appropriated $1.375 billion for the wall.

Now, however, according to acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Mark Morgan, the “5th Circuit ruling clears the way for DoD to construct 175 miles of border wall system that are critical to our Nation’s security.”

To date, nearly 100 miles of the wall has been built along the southern border, though most of the construction has been directed at replacing existing border wall systems. 

President Trump previously promised to construct 450 miles of new border wall barrier by the next presidential election in November 2020.

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Sarah McConnell

Sarah McConnell

Sarah McConnell is a reporter for The Texan. Previously, she worked as a Cyber Security Consultant after serving as a Pathways Intern at the Department of Homeland Security – Citizenship and Immigration Services. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Texas A&M as well as her Master of Public Service and Administration degree from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M. In her free time, Sarah is an avid runner, jazz enthusiast, and lover of all things culinary.