The Federal Appeals Court Holds Trump’s Diversion of Military Funds To Build the Wall To Be Unlawful

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The Federal Appeals Court held that US President Donald Trump’s diversion of military funds to build the wall is unlawful.

A grey area in the law was interpreted to allow the Trump administration to build a wall using funds allocated to the military. The court dismissed the interpretation and halts all further construction of the wall throughout the stretches of the US- Mexico border.

Background

US President Donald Trump unilaterally diverted the funds from the defence department to build the wall that he had promised his supporters during his election. In light of the same, Congress needed to allocate a budget for the wall but did not agree with the requirement of $5.7 billion to build the border wall. Trump then declared an emergency order against illegal border crossing and began the construction of the wall.

Arguments

The federal government in its arguments made use of a small gap or a grey area that has been left for interpretation in Section 2808. The Section permitted military construction projects which are of need to the military but have not been approved by the law. The Section states “other activity” under which, the federal government claimed, the border wall must fall. The Court answered this contention by stating that “other activity ” cannot mean “any activity”.

In the arguments advanced there was also a question of protection of the wildlife in these places. One such part of the border, El Paso is a documented jaguar region. Building a wall will naturally inhibit the passing corridor of the animals in that area. Since California has enacted laws concerning the health and environment of its state, the federal administration will have to comply with all the standards set by California for law enforcement.

Issues Dealt Upon

The appeal presented the question of whether the emergency military construction authority provided by 10 U.S.C. § 2808 (“Section 2808”) authorized eleven border wall construction projects on the Southern border of the United States.

The Court also decided on the issue of whether the district court properly granted the Organizational Plaintiffs a permanent injunction.

Court’s Observation

The Court observed that under Section 2808, it states and permits military construction projects, not otherwise authorized by law that is necessary to support such use of the armed forces. The military project under the Section means a base camp, station, port, centre, etc.
The interpretation of this Section into building a border wall was held to be incorrect by the Court. Therefore, the building of the border wall by the diversion of 3.6 billion dollars from the defence department cannot be considered a military project.

Court’s Decision

The United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, held that the US President Donald Trump’s usage of $3.6 billion from the defence budget to fund the border wall on the US-Mexico border was unlawful. The Court also held that the Trump administration must halt all further constructions of the border wall.

Click here to read the judgment


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