Federal judge rules against emergency wall funding


U.S. Customs and Patrol Patrol agents sit along a section of the international border wall that runs through Organ Pipe National Monument, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019 in Lukeville, Ariz. Construction on a two mile portion of replacement fencing funded by President Trump’s national emergency declaration has begun in an area near the official border crossing that runs through Organ Pipe. (AP Photo/Matt York)

EL PASO, Texas (CNN) — Some of the money President Trump is using to build the border wall could be in jeopardy.

Judge David Briones of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas on Friday ruled the president’s national emergency declaration is unlawful.

In February, Trump declared the situation at the U.S. border with Mexico a National emergency.

That allowed him to bypass Congress and use money allotted for military construction to build the wall.

El Paso County Officials and a human rights group, the Border Network for Human Rights, sued, asking for the court to block the declaration. They argued the president overstepped his authority.

Briones appears to agree, but he notes other money could be used for the project.

In August, BNHR and the county said since the president’s emergency declaration harmed the reputation and economy of El Paso.

The White House defense said harm to the community is speculative and there is no traceable evidence directly linking the proclamation to any harm in El Paso.

Attorneys representing El Paso said they’d hope the lawsuit would block the declaration because they said there is no emergency at the border.

“We had the opportunity today on behalf of this community to ask a federal judge, part of our three separate parts of government, to enforce the separation on powers, to enforce the law, to lift this declaration and to stop the president from doing things he was specifically told that he is not allowed to do,” said Kristy Parker, counsel with Protect Democracy.

Parker, who says Protect Democracy is bi-partisan, said the lawsuit makes broader arguments than the case presented to the Supreme Court.

The Justice Department argued then that Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to fund the wall cannot be reviewed by any judge

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