In February 2019, President Trump declared a national emergency in order to secure funding for the border wall after Congress awarded only $1.4 billion of the requested $6 billion needed to complete it. Subsequently, the U.S. Department of Defense allocated $3.6 billion of military funds to border wall construction. The money was earmarked to cover 11 projects making up 175 miles of new construction in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California.
On October 9, in the latest of an already long history of rulings on the matter, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the transfer of the $3.6 billion was an illegal action on part of the President. The Sierra Club, an environmental group that once supported limits on immigration because of concerns about runaway population growth, filed the lawsuit in conjunction with the Southern Border Community Coalition (SBCC) in hopes of halting border construction.
The 2020 ruling upholds a prior 2019 district court decision which was then overturned by the Supreme Court, allowing construction to continue. However, this new ruling requires once again that construction comes to a stop. Building the border wall was one of Trump’s key campaign pillars in 2016, and he rode the issue into the White House. Despite this, immigration and the wall have been relatively left out of his reelection bid.
While open-borders advocates celebrate the win in the Ninth Circuit Court, the battle is far from over. The case will likely go back to the Supreme Court. SCOTUS could once again stay the latest appeals and wait to make a ruling until 2021.
Despite the ruling, construction continues on. The Trump administration is set to deliver on their promise of 450 new miles of border wall before the end of the year despite years of push back and fighting for the appropriate funding. In recent weeks, construction has ramped up to nearly two completed miles per day and new construction contracts spark continued progress.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials awarded contracts that will create 57 miles of new border wall in the Laredo (Texas) Sector where there was previously no wall. The Laredo Sector lacks significant border infrastructure and experiences very high levels of drug smuggling and illegal border crossings.
Despite consistent red tape and push back from open-borders advocates, the Trump administration continues to make progress on our southern border. The new border wall not only improves the efficiency of CBP agents, but it also funnels illegal activity into the ports of entry, resulting in increased drug seizures.