A federal judge in Texas ruled Friday that President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration to build a border wall is unlawful and appears poised to block the use of those funds.
Judge David Briones of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, asked challengers of the wall to propose the scope of a preliminary injunction. (You can read the judge’s entire ruling below.)
The lawsuit, brought by El Paso County and Border Network for Human Rights, seeks an injunction to block Trump’s national emergency declaration. It argues that Trump overstepped his authority when he issued the declaration to gain access to additional funds for his border wall, despite receiving $1.375 billion from Congress.
The complaint also alleges that the declaration doesn’t meet the National Emergencies Act’s definition of “emergency” and pushes back against Trump’s remarks that border barriers led to a drop in crime in El Paso.
At issue, in Friday’s ruling, is the military construction funds that have been diverted to build a border wall. The judge found that the plaintiffs have standing to bring the case because they’ve suffered harm as a result.
“Specifically, El Paso County has shown an injury to its reputation and has had to take affirmative steps to avoid harm,” Briones wrote in his ruling.
“I am extremely thankful Judge Briones sided with our position,” El Paso County Commissioners Court Judge Richard Samaniego told ABC-7. “It is our version of the line in the sand.”
Samaniego said the ruling “sends a strong message to the President that El Paso will not participate or encourage him to circumvent the Congressional process or allow any misrepresentation that adversely impacts our economic development plans and objectives.”
The judge noted that his ruling did not apply to the use of other funds for the wall, including counter-drug and Treasury Forfeiture Funds, that have been designated for wall construction.