Federal Judge Blocks Unlawful Redirecting of Border Wall Funds by the Biden Administration - www.conservativeroof.com
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Federal Judge Blocks Unlawful Redirecting of Border Wall Funds by the Biden Administration

On Friday, a federal judge issued a ruling preventing the Biden administration from illegally diverting taxpayer money away from the southern border wall construction.

District Court Judge Drew B. Tipton of the Southern District of Texas granted a preliminary injunction following lawsuits filed by Texas and Missouri to halt the plan, which involved reallocating funds to initiatives such as environmental remediation.

“Whether the Executive Branch must adhere to federal laws is not, as a general matter, an area traditionally left to its discretion,” Judge Tipton wrote in his order. The executive branch includes the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Judge Tipton, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, sided with the Republican-led states, stating in his decision that according to the U.S. Constitution, it’s Congress’s responsibility to determine how funds are allocated, and the Biden administration must adhere to the law.

In February 2019, President Trump announced a national emergency and utilized funds from the Departments of Defense and Treasury to construct barriers along the southern border.

In the 2020 fiscal year, Congress designated $1.4 billion specifically for the construction of border walls aimed at curbing illegal immigration.

Nevertheless, President Joe Biden, a Democrat, issued an executive order shortly after assuming office in January 2021, ending the emergency declaration and ceasing construction.

Subsequently, he instructed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to reallocate the funds to various projects along the border, excluding the construction of the wall.

As a result, both Texas and Missouri filed individual lawsuits against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which were ultimately combined.

The Biden administration contended that, despite certain language in the law, the DHS should have the authority to allocate the funds as it sees fit.

However, the judge rejected this argument, essentially determining that President Biden’s decision to use funds designated for wall construction on “remediation projects” was incorrect.

The judge ruled that while the DHS asserted authority over certain spending decisions, it doesn’t mean it is free to do whatever it wants.

“Agencies, when afforded congressionally appropriated funds, may expend them only for the proper purpose and amount, and within the authorized period of time,” Judge Tipton wrote.

As a result, lacking that discretion, the DHS’s spending choices “run afoul” of the law, specifically breaching the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

In his order, Judge Tipton stated that Congress drafted the law with precision, clearly indicating that the funds should be allocated for barriers along the border.

“The central question in this case, then, is this: Has the Government obligated FY 2020 and FY 2021 funds for the ‘construction of [a] barrier system’? The answer is largely no,” the judge wrote.

The Biden administration’s updated border plan, announced by the Department of Defense and the DHS in June 2021 with revisions a year later, proposed using allocated funds for flood control, cleanup, and environmental projects. This included enhancing lighting, installing cameras, and implementing detection technology in areas where physical barriers were already erected.

The plan entailed canceling most border wall projects and transferring all existing barrier infrastructure, previously funded by the DOD, to the DHS’s jurisdiction.

The attorneys general of Texas and Missouri, who challenged these spending decisions, hailed the ruling on Friday.

“Today, I secured a preliminary injunction against an attempt by the Biden Administration to illegally redirect statutorily obligated funds away from the construction of a border wall,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement.

“Biden acted completely improperly by refusing to spend the money that Congress appropriated for border wall construction, and even attempting to redirect those funds,” he continued. “His actions demonstrate his desperation for open borders at any cost, but Texas has prevailed.”

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey called the ruling a “huge step” in fighting to secure the southern border.

“The Biden Administration has failed to abide by the law to finish the construction of a wall along the southwest border,” Mr. Bailey said in a statement.

“Joe Biden refuses to carry out his constitutionally mandated responsibilities, so we took him to court to force him to do his job. This is a huge step forward in the fight to secure our border at a key moment in our nation’s history,” the statement concluded.

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