By Antoinette Reyes, Southern NM organizer
As President Trump has circumvented Congress and diverted funds from other budget items to build his border wall, Sierra Club activists and attorneys have continued to stand up for our borderlands and families to stop the wall.
In October, El Paso Judge Briones ruled that the Trump administration illegally diverted billions of dollars for wall construction. This suit was brought by El Paso County and the Border Network for Human Rights. On Dec. 10, Briones issued a nationwide injunction stopping the Trump administration from diverting $3.6 billion from the Department of Defense’s military construction fund to erect 175 miles of border wall. However, the judge’s order does not stop the administration from continuing to use up to $2.5 billion from the Department of Defense’s counter-drug and narcotics fund, nor does it stop the more than $3 billion appropriated by Congress for border walls since 2017.
In another case, the Sierra Club is being represented by the ACLU. The court previously blocked the use of $2.5 billion from the counter-drug program, as well as military pay and pension funds, for border construction. But in July, the Supreme Court stayed the injunction, allowing wall construction in Southern New Mexico and places like San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge to continue as that case moves through the appeals process.
We made progress on Dec. 11, when US District Judge Gilliam ruled against the use of emergency funds. The ACLU argued that the emergency funds are an abuse of emergency powers to build a border wall using funds Congress explicitly denied. The court temporarily stayed an injunction to halt using the military construction funds because of the ongoing appeals process in this case.
The Trump administration is expected to appeal the December rulings. As Sierra Club and others continue legal attempts to stop construction, you are organizing on the ground. We are making a difference — thank you!
Photo courtesy of Nuestra Tierra. Nuestra Tierra hosted an oOctober border campout near Coronado National Forest, an area in Hidalgo County threaded by border wall construction.