Donald Trump on a tour of US-Mexico border wall prototypes near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in San Diego, California, March 13, 2018 (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
The Supreme Court has ensured that Donald Trump can build his Wall with Mexico using military money, lifting an lower court ban on the diversion of $2.5 billion.
The 5-to-4 ruling was along the Court’s conservative v. moderate lines. The one-paragraph ruling maintained the groups challenging the administration did not have a legal right to do so.
The justices said litigation over the issue can continue, but the cases will likely take many months as Trump proceeds with his vanity project of the 30-foot-tall barrier along much of the US-Mexico border.
Most of the $2.5 billion comes from the Pentagon’s military construction and counter-narcotics projects.
Trump, stymied for more than two years by Congress and the courts, celebrated on Twitter:
Wow! Big VICTORY on the Wall. The United States Supreme Court overturns lower court injunction, allows Southern Border Wall to proceed. Big WIN for Border Security and the Rule of Law!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2019
In late June, Judge Haywood Gilliam of the Northern District of California blocked the Administration from proceeding without Congressional approval. The case was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition.
An appeals court refused to stay Gilliam’s ruling as it considered the Administration’s appeal.
The ACLU’s Dror Ladin responded to the Supreme Court’s lifting of the suspension:
We will be asking the federal appeals court to expedite the ongoing appeals proceeding to halt the irreversible and imminent damage from Trump’s border wall.
Border communities, the environment, and our Constitution’s separation of powers will be permanently harmed should Trump get away with pillaging military funds for a xenophobic border wall Congress denied.
Trump declared a “national emergency” and ordered the diversion of the Pentagon’s funds in February, after he failed to get a penny from Congress despite shutting down the Government for a record-setting 35 days in December and January.
Trump also was handed another victory on Friday when Guatemala capitulated to his tariff threats and signed an agreement to hold migrants travelling towards the US.
Trying to end asylum claims in the US, the Trump Administration is demanding that migrants from El Salvador and Honduras must apply for asylum in Guatemala while those from Guatemala must apply to remain in Mexico.
Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales refused to attend a White House meeting in late June, but Trump then — as with his threat against Mexico — said he would cripple the economy with tariffs.
he Border Patrol has detained 363,300 migrant family members from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala since October 2018, compared with more than 3,200 Mexican family members.
Immigrant advocacy groups are seeking a court injunction to block the asylum restrictions.