Appeals court approves border wall funding

Back in October, we looked at a court ruling in Texas that blocked President Trump’s plan to allocate certain military funding to continue work on border wall construction. Judge David Briones, a Clinton appointee, agreed with the County of El Paso, Texas and liberal activist group Border Network for Human Rights, that the project would result in “damages” to the plaintiffs. At that time, I posed a few questions, including this one. “You might be wondering how either of these entities established standing to bring a lawsuit over the disbursement of federal funds. Good question.”

The White House appealed the decision and it was sent to a three-judge panel on the Fifth Circut. In a 2-1 decision, they seemed to see the same problem with the complaint and lifted the injunction, ruling that the project can move forward. (Politico)

A divided federal appeals court has lifted a lower court’s order blocking $3.6 billion in military construction funds that President Donald Trump planned to use to finance an expanded and improved border wall.

The New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a brief order on Wednesday granting the Trump administration’s request to stay the injunction that U.S. District Court Judge David Briones, based in El Paso, Texas, issued last month…

The 5th Circuit panel’s majority did not provide a detailed explanation for its action, but noted that last July the Supreme Court stayed a similar injunction issued by a federal judge in Oakland, Calif.

The majority decision from the panel noted (as I predicted originally) that the Supreme Court already shot down a similar complaint last summer. They also questioned whether the plaintiffs had standing to bring the challenge in the first place.

That second part of the panel’s justification in lifting the injunction probably generated a few chuckles in the judges’ chambers. The county of El Paso claimed in the original complaint that they had could show substantial harm done to them by border wall construction because it would have “damaged their reputation as a county.” The activist group Border Network for Human Rights was a bit vaguer, indicating that border walls are bad because they prevent people from freely crossing the border or something. (Ya think?)

Of course, the military didn’t really slow down much after the previous ruling anyway. Last month they completed another eleven miles of wall construction in two sections near the town of Donna, Texas.

CBS News was able to get access to the locations where new border wall is being constructed along the 2,000-mile-long southern border.

In rural south Texas, construction crews are pushing to finish an 8-mile stretch of border wall in the town of Donna. The total cost is about $167 million.

West of Donna, CBS News saw a second 3-mile stretch of wall that is also being built. Nearly $10 billion has been diverted from government agencies for wall funding.

Critics who are unhappy with new border wall construction are quick to point out that not all sections of the new or refurbished wall are contiguous. That’s true, but we were never going to come close to building a wall along the entire border in a single term. But every mile that is completed is one less mile where we need border agents on patrol. And as the electronic monitoring technology continues to be installed, the manpower requirements go down even further.

All of this work is already producing measurable effects. In the second half of 2019, illegal border crossings dropped for five straight months as compared to previous years. A lot of people seemed to feel that this sort of progress was impossible. Apparently it wasn’t.