Two advocacy groups, Protect Democracy Project and Border Network for Human Rights, are mounting a legal challenge to the Trump administration’s decision to use military funds for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, The New York Times reports.
The Supreme Court ruled in President Donald Trump’s favor, allowing the allocation of funds, but a judge in the city of El Paso, Texas is now reviewing a lawsuit brought by the local country government, and activist groups.
The lawsuit “makes broader arguments than the case presented to the Supreme Court,” according to Kristy Parker, a lawyer for the Protect Democracy Project.
According to the Department of Justice, however, the president’s declaration of national emergency to fund the expensive border project cannot be reviewed by any judge.
President Donald Trump promised on the campaign trail in 2015 that he would build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. A wall on the southern border, candidate Trump would tell his supporters, would stop illegal immigration, curb the influx of drugs, and reduce the crime rate in the United States.
As USA Today pointed out in a June report, the president’s definition of a “wall” has shifted over time. The president went from promising to build a 1,000-mile solid concrete wall, to committing to several hundred miles of “steel slats.”
He has gone back and forth on the issue, alternating between vowing to build a monumental concrete wall, and promising to erect a steel barrier.
Earlier this year, the commander-in-chief forced a partial government shutdown — which lasted for 35 days — in an apparent effort to force Congress to allocate funding for the expensive border project.
“I’m open to anything,” the president subsequently told the media, suggesting that he would be fine with different types of barriers.
The White House says Trump was joking when he told subordinates it’s OK to commit crimes to build the wall: "But when words constitute orders from the nation’s top government officer, it is reasonable to expect that those words will be obeyed." https://t.co/YeZQCIFF91— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) August 29, 2019
Some have criticized Trump for only replacing existing barriers, instead of building a new wall as he had promised. For instance, The Washington Examiner — a conservative-leaning publication — reported a month ago that the president “has not built a single mile of new border fence after 30 months in office,” while acknowledging that some existing fences had been replaced.
On August 26, a Department of Homeland Security official confirmed to Axios that “not a single mile of wall has been built where no barrier previously existed.”
In response to criticism, the president recently took to Twitter, posting a video of a barrier on the southern border, and arguing that the wall is being built “despite total Obstruction by Democrats in Congress, and elsewhere!”