Ninth Circuit court rules Trump can’t divert military funds for border wall

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The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday ruled that President Donald Trump could not use emergency powers to divert $3.6 billion in military constructions to building the border wall, dealing another blow to the president’s signature 2016 campaign pledge.

In a 2-to-1 decision, the panel in San Francisco upheld an earlier ruling from a case filed by the Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition that had challenged funding the border wall, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. 

FILE: A Border Patrol agent walks along a border wall separating Tijuana, Mexico, from San Diego, in San Diego. 

The Trump administration, in early 2019, requested $5.7 billion for the border wall, but Congress approved only $1.4 billion. President Trump then invoked his powers under the National Emergencies Act and declared border control an emergency that required using military construction funds to complete the wall. Trump diverted $3.6 billion to build 175 miles of the wall from California to Texas.

Writing the court’s opinion, Chief Judge Sidney Thomas said the court had decided that the construction of 11 pieces of the border wall inappropriately used military construction funding. In his dissent, Judge Daniel Collins concluded that the funding was lawful and appropriately used.

The court’s ruling was another setback to the Trump administration’s pledge to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to clamp down on illegal immigration. Some 350 miles of the proposed wall have been constructed, but most of it has replaced existing segments in need of repair.

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