- Supreme court allows Trump to spend billions of dollars on border wall with Mexico.
- Democrats and Environmental groups oppose the project.
- Legal battle still looming to stop Trump from effecting the project, one of his main campaign promises in 2016.
The United States Supreme Court has okayed President Donald Trump’s usage of $ 2.5 billion (£ 2 billion) of Pentagon funds for a section of the wall on the southern border with Mexico. The court ruled by five votes against four to block a ruling by a federal judge in California that prohibited the president from spending money on the wall. The wall, which would divide the United States and Mexico, was Trump’s main campaign promise during the 2016 elections.
The Supreme Court decision means that the money will be used for wall projects in California, Arizona, and New Mexico. The California court had argued that Congress had not specifically authorized the funds that would be used to build the wall. In a tweet, Trump described the ruling as a “great victory.”
Still touching matters of border security and immigration, on Friday, the United States and Guatemala signed an agreement under which immigrants from Honduras and El Salvador passing through Guatemala must stop and seek asylum there first, instead of continuing and attempting to enter the United States.
Reactions To The Ruling
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, said: “The ruling of the Supreme Court tonight that allows Donald Trump to steal military funds to spend on an ineffective and wasteful border wall rejected by Congress is deeply defective. Our Founders designed a democracy governed by the people, not a monarchy.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has pledged to seek an expedited decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals “to stop irreversible and imminent damage to the Trump border wall.” Gloria Smith, a lawyer for the Sierra Club environmental group, which she sued to block the funds, said: “Today’s decision to allow the diversion of military funds for the construction of the border wall will block and destroy communities, public lands and waters in California, New Mexico and Arizona.”
Trump declared an emergency earlier this year, saying he needed $6.7 billion to build the wall as a matter of national security. However, this figure is well below the estimated cost of $23 billion to build a barrier along the 2,000 mile (3,200 km) border. Democrats claimed that Trump’s decision to declare an emergency exceeded his powers under the US constitution.
Around 20 states, along with groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have since moved to court for legal battles to try to block the president from using the emergency declaration to avoid Congress. Several environmental groups have also campaigned against the construction of the wall claiming it would have a negative impact on wildlife.
In February, Congress approved $ 1,380 million for the construction of “primary pedestrian fences” along the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, much less than Trump had sought. The House of Representatives is also engaged in a legal tussle in a bid to stop the diversion of additional funds for the wall project.