Make way for the excavators; the Trump Administration just cleared a legal hurdle in its effort to build the Wall along the southern border. A three-judge appeals court panel of the Fifth Circuit set aside an injunction that was holding up a significant portion of the Wall. The court split along party lines, with the Republican-appointed judges voting for and the Democratically appointed judges against overturning a lower court ruling that blocked the use of military funds to build the Wall.
In issuing its ruling, the Fifth Circuit referenced a U.S. Supreme Court decision that stayed a similar injunction. At issue in both cases was whether the president could use funds designed initially for the military to build a barrier on our southern border. In July, the high court ruled the Trump administration could use $2.5 billion that was designated for military use toward the construction of the Wall.
A Long and Winding Road
The building of the Wall has mainly become a political football since President Trump took office. Naturally, this latest legal decision is being hailed as a touchdown by the commander in chief. Trump tweeted his elation: “The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals just reversed a lower court decision & gave us the go-ahead to build one of the largest sections of the desperately needed Southern Border Wall, Four billion Dollars. Entire Wall is under construction or getting ready to start!”
Building the Wall is one of the central campaign promises made by the president and a policy he has been pushing for during his time in office. While some portions of the Wall are currently under construction, much of the work that needs to be done on a barrier between the U.S. and Mexico has been held up in a quagmire of legal actions.
To those on the political left, the Wall appears to represent a racist policy to keep non-whites out of the country. Those on the right tend to see the issue as a matter of national sovereignty and security. There is also an element of human rights at play in the politi-sphere, with the left maintaining that the Wall is inhumane to refugees and other people in need. Those on the right, meanwhile, point to myriad laws already on the books that pave the way for legal entry and a path to citizenship for those willing to make the effort.
This latest ruling by the Fifth Circuit involved El Paso County, Texas, and Border Network for Human Rights. In Their lawsuit, they claimed the White House decision to declare an emergency to use the funds was inappropriate. However, the president has maintained that the situation along America’s southern border is – and should be considered – a national emergency.
It’s doubtful this decision by the Fifth Circuit will be the last legal action in the Wall imbroglio, but it does signal a win for the president and advances the ball toward building the Wall in a critical area of illegal crossings – El Paso, Texas.
Read more from Leesa K. Donner.