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Court Approves Border Wall Funding

Friday, January 10, 2020

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In the latest move in the U.S.-Mexico border wall saga, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, based out of New Orleans, recently ruled that a certain set of Department of Defense funding could be used for border wall construction.

Last month, a U.S. federal judge blocked the Trump administration from transferring $3.6 billion in Pentagon funds for the construction of border wall.

Border Wall Saga

In September 2017, the first border wall contracts were awarded to four different companies to develop prototypes that would work in conjunction with the border in the San Diego area. U.S. special forces spent weeks attempting to breach the eight prototype models of the proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall, which proved to withstand jackhammers, torches and climbing tools.

Since then, the government has worked to speed up the project. In October 2018, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that any environmental regulations regarding the construction or repair of a section of the border wall for certain areas in Texas would be waived, drawing ire from environmentalists and private property owners alike. The announcement detailed exemptions in Cameron County; another announcement made the following day detailed similar measures for Hidalgo County.

tzahiV / Getty Images

In the latest movie in the U.S.-Mexico border wall saga, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, based out of New Orleans, recently ruled that a certain set of Department of Defense funding could be used for border wall construction.

Through the course of late 2018 and into 2019, construction began on section of border wall gates in the Rio Grande Valley sector, with several million in border wall contracts being awarded for work elsewhere. In mid-2019, a judge blocked the president’s use of money originally intended for military funding, for work on the border wall. The injunction only accounted for roughly $1 billion in funding for the border wall, money that the Department of Defense had funneled away from Army personnel to the Department of Homeland Security.

In July, over a week after a federal judge blocked the Trump administration from using $2.5 billion in funding for the border wall, CBP and the Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $33 million contract for four miles of border wall work in Texas. Environmental regulations for that section of structure were also waived. August also saw the award of another $305 million in contracts.

In September, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper approved $3.6 billion in funding—largely pulled from military construction projects, including housing—to go toward building 175 miles of the border wall. At the end of that same month, Jonathan Hoffman, assistant to the secretary of defense for public affairs, reported that roughly a mile of border wall is being built every day.

Additionally, in November, Trump allowed for construction to begin on a section of the wall in Texas without customary environmental reviews. Last month also saw funding stemming from canceled military projects being assigned to three new contracts for the construction of over 30 miles of replacement fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border, totaling $316 million in work. The federal judge’s blockage of funding also occurred in December.

Recent Funding Block

According to CNN, the recent funding approval doesn’t include other finances that have already been intended for use in border wall construction. The 2-1 ruling grants a temporary halt to the nationwide injunction from the Texas judge.

Stephen Higginson, the dissenting voice in the vote, noted that he thought the administration had not demonstrated that it would experience significant harm without a halt to the injunction.

“Although I agree with my colleagues that this matter presents ‘a substantial case on the merits’ and involves a ‘serious legal question…’ I am unable to agree, without focused panel deliberation and discussion—possibly aided by dialogue with counsel—that the government presently has shown either a likelihood of success on the merits or irreparable harm in the absence of a stay,” Higginson said.

   

Tagged categories: Funding; Government; Government contracts; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Ongoing projects; President Trump; Program/Project Management

Comment from Tony Rangus, (1/10/2020, 10:05 AM)

If at first you don't succeed, sue - sue again.


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