March 10, 2024

Federal judge halts Biden administration effort to redirect border wall funding

In a win for those concerned about the ongoing migrant crisis, a federal judge last week put a temporary block on the Biden administration's efforts to divert $1.4 billion in congressional appropriations away from border wall construction, as Fox News reports.

The decision came as the result of one of the many pending battles between federal officials and the state of Texas.

Biden administration actions spur lawsuit

Last week's decision from Judge Drew Tipton stemmed from President Joe Biden's 2021 decision to end a national emergency declaration put in place by his predecessor, Donald Trump.

That order also resulted in a pause on border wall construction begun during the prior administration, and as such, the funds earmarked for the wall for fiscal years 2020 and 2021 were essentially frozen while federal officials reviewed the situation.

Not long after, the Department of Homeland Security promulgated a plan that would halt almost all border wall projects with a few exceptions.

States fight back

Subsequently, the states of Missouri and Texas filed suit contending that the attempted redirection of congressional appropriations was unlawful and in violation of the principles of separation of powers, with Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush also initiating litigation on the matter.

The state officials argued that their jurisdictions would suffer serious harm as a result of a greater influx of illegal immigrants due to the increase public expenditures their presence would require.

Federal officials countered by suggesting that the states had not demonstrated that a halt to wall construction would yield a greater number of arrivals and a concomitant rise in costs.

Tipton rules

In the end, Judge Tipton found in favor of Texas and Missouri and ordered a temporary halt on any redirection of the earmarked funds.

“Texas has shown injury-in-fact through costs that it has incurred in administering driver's licenses, education, and healthcare to a rising number of illegal aliens. Traceability is met because Texas has sufficiently demonstrated that the failure to build more physical barriers will reduce the number of apprehensions that otherwise would have occurred,” he wrote.

In a statement lauding the outcome, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton declared, “Biden acted completely improperly by refusing to spend the money that Congress appropriated for border wall construction, and even attempting to redirect those funds.”

“His actions demonstrate his desperation for open borders at any costs, but Texas has prevailed,” he added, but where this controversy will go from here, only time will tell.

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