Gilliam blocks more funding for Trump's border wall

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A federal judge on Friday issued a permanent injunction blocking President Donald Trump's administration from redirecting billions of dollars in military funds to build a wall on the country's southern border.

The expanded ban excludes an additional 79 miles of the border near Tucson, Ariz., and El Centro, Calif., from being used for wall construction. The decision follows an earlier temporary injunction granted last month wherein Judge Gilliam claimed that the White House's efforts did not "square with fundamental separation of powers principles dating back to the earliest days of our Republic".

U.S. Department of Justice lawyers said in a court filing that they were formally appealing Friday's ruling to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Construction of the border wall using the funds was otherwise set to begin as early as Monday.

On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Haywood Gilliam in Oakland, California said in a pair of court decisions that the Trump administration's proposal to transfer Defense Department funds intended for anti-drug activities was unlawful.

The Trump administration identified two other sources for the border wall fund using the president's national emergency declaration, including $3.6 billion from military construction projects and $601 million from the Treasury Forfeiture Fund. "No case supports this principle".

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California Attorney General Xavier Becerra tweeted: "Tonight's court rulings critically stop Trump's illegal money grab to divert $2.5 billion of unauthorized funding for his pet project".

The month-long partial government shutdown last winter stemmed from a standoff over border wall funding, with Congress allotting $1.3 billion for border fencing, far below what Trump had wanted.

"We applaud the court's decision to protect our Constitution, communities, and the environment today", said Gloria Smith, managing attorney at the Sierra Club.

In the second suit, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition, the judge determined that the use of the $2.5 billion for two sectors of the wall was unlawful, although he rejected environmental arguments that wall construction would threaten species such as bighorn sheep.

The judge's reasoning is that the president exceeded his authority by diverting federal funds without congressional approval.

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