Federal judge rules Trump’s national emergency declaration to build a border wall is unlawful


“Tired of so much winning” yet?

A federal judge in Texas ruled Friday that President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration to build a border wall is unlawful and is poised to block the use of those funds.

Lawfare Blog reports, District Court Rules Against Trump in Border Wall Case:

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas found President Trump’s proclamation declaring a national emergency at the southern border to be unlawful, ruling (.pdf) that the use of funds for this project violates the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The judge granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs and called on them to file a “proposed preliminary injunction” specifying the scope of said injunction with ten days, after which the Trump administration is directed to respond.

CNN adds, Federal judge says Trump’s use of emergency funds to build wall is unlawful:

Judge David Briones of the US District Court for the Western District of Texas, asked challengers of the wall to propose the scope of a preliminary injunction.

The lawsuit, brought by El Paso County, Texas, and Border Network for Human Rights, seeks an injunction to block Trump’s national emergency declaration. It argues that Trump overstepped his authority when he issued the declaration to gain access to additional funds for his border wall, despite receiving $1.375 billion from Congress.

The complaint also alleges that the declaration doesn’t meet the National Emergencies Act’s definition of “emergency” and pushes back against Trump’s remarks that border barriers led to a drop in crime in El Paso.

At issue, in Friday’s ruling, is the military construction funds that have been diverted to build a border wall. The judge found that the plaintiffs have standing to bring the case because of they’ve suffered harm as a result.

“Specifically, El Paso County has shown an injury to its reputation and has had to take affirmative steps to avoid harm,” Briones writes.

The judge notes that this ruling does not apply to the use of other funds for the wall, including counterdrug and Treasury Forfeiture Funds, that have been designated for wall construction.

But wait, there’s more!

CBS News reports that a federal judge on Friday blocked a Trump administration regulation that permits immigration officials to deny green cards to immigrants who receive certain public benefits. Judge blocks Trump rule to deny green cards and visas to low-income immigrants:

A federal judge on Friday blocked a sweeping regulation that would’ve made it easier for the Trump administration to reject green card and visa applications filed by low-income immigrants whom the government determines are or might become a burden on U.S. taxpayers.

Judge George Daniels of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan issued a preliminary nationwide injunction prohibiting the administration from enforcing the so-called “public charge” rule just days before it was slated to take effect on Tuesday.

The judge’s decision represents yet another defeat in court for the White House and its concerted campaign to dramatically overhaul the nation’s legal immigration system. It also signifies a major legal triumph for a coalition of advocacy groups and Democratic-led states, counties and cities that challenged the rule through nearly a dozen lawsuits in federal courts across the country.

Daniels faulted the government for not adequately explaining why it was changing the definition of a “public charge” or why the change was needed. “The Rule is simply a new agency policy of exclusion in search of a justification,” he wrote in his ruling. “It is repugnant to the American dream of the opportunity for prosperity and success through hard work and upwards mobility.”

In a separate, more limited ruling later on Friday, a district court judge in San Francisco said the administration could not enforce the rule within the jurisdiction of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The controversial U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulation would give immigration caseworkers even more leeway to deny applications for green cards and visas filed by legal immigrants who use certain government benefits or whom authorities determine will rely on welfare programs in the future.

For decades, the U.S. has asked most green card and visa petitioners to prove they won’t be a “public charge” — or an economic burden — on the country. The term was first codified in U.S. law in 1882, the same year the U.S. enacted the Chinese Exclusion Act, which barred the entry of Chinese laborers on the premise that they jeopardized “the good order of certain localities.”

In the late 1990s, the Clinton administration issued guidance saying only cash benefits could be considered when determining whether an immigrant could be a “public charge.” The Trump administration’s proposal, however, would substantially expand this centuries-old term by broadening the type and amount of benefits that count against immigrants seeking to stay or move to the U.S.

Under the new regulation, caseworkers would consider enrollment in the widely used Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), certain federally funded Medicaid benefits and a variety of forms of government-subsidized housing, including the popular Section 8 vouchers. Officials would deem an immigrant a “public charge” and deny the application if they determine he or she is more likely than not to use one of the considered benefits for 12 months or longer over the span of three years.

Caseworkers would also take into account the petitioner’s age, educational skills, English language proficiency and health to determine whether they are likely to rely on the government for support. On certain occasions, those deemed a “public charge” could post a bond for an amount no less than $8,100.

The rule would not affect asylum seekers, refugees or holders of special visas for Iraqi and Afghan nationals who helped U.S. forces in those countries.

Since a draft executive order leaked in 2017, the proposed changes to the nation’s immigration system have elicited withering criticism from immigrant advocates across the country. When a draft of the rule was published late last year for a 60-day period of public review, it received more than 260,000 comments, most of them from individuals, organizations and jurisdictions opposed to the regulation.

Critics have said the rule will disproportionately affect low-income immigrants of color and punish them for being poor.

Even though the rule has not been implemented yet, researchers have already detailed a “chilling effect” among immigration communities, including in mixed-status households where some family members are undocumented immigrants, while other are permanent residents and U.S. citizens.

According to one study, talk of the rule, along with confusion over which benefits will be consider, has prompted some immigrant families — including U.S. citizens — to avoid or drop food, medical and housing government benefits out of fear that enrollment would jeopardize immigration petitions filed by family members.

Administration officials and immigration hardliners have strongly defended the rule, arguing that it will foster “self-sufficiency” among immigrant communities. Acting USCIS Director Ken Cuccinelli, who unveiled the final rule in August, even offered an alternative line to “The New Colossus” poem inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty to advocate for the regulation.

“Give me your tired your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge,” he told NPR in August. The original sonnet reads, “Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

The State Department last year expanded “public charge” considerations used by consular officers to grant or reject visa applications. The White House budget office is also currently reviewing a proposed Justice Department regulation that would allow the U.S. to deport immigrants deemed a “public charge” under the new guidelines of the USCIS rule that was blocked on Friday.

Finally, the Trump administration is bringing back the “individual mandate” for health insurance — but only for immigrants:

Earlier in the month, the administration announced that it is preparing to reject visa applications from immigrants the government determines will not be able to pay for health insurance or cover health care costs in the U.S. The new requirement is set to go into effect November 3.

Expect this new regulation to be blocked by the courts as well.

UPDATE: Immigration Officials Are Pushing A Proposal To Add A New Fee For Dreamers And Charge For Asylum Applications: The proposal would make the US just the fourth country in the world to charge for an asylum application, joining Iran, Fiji, and Australia.


  1. Things that can be used to get people and drugs from one side of a wall to the other.

    Common sense.

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