Judge Blocks Some Border Wall Funding


United States District Court Judge Haywood Gilliam Jr. recently blocked President Donald J. Trump’s use of money originally intended for military funding, for work on the U.S.-Mexico border wall. A group that raised millions of dollars through crowdfunding have also broken ground on a section of border wall that’s to sit on private property.

Though Gilliam’s preliminary injunction temporarily blocks funding that was not appropriated by Congress for the purpose of building the wall, this is not the final legal say in the matter.

Recent Border Wall Saga Updates

Fisher Sand & Gravel's CEO claimed last month that his company could build 234 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border wall, including the wall, paved roads and border technology, along with a warranty, for $1.4 billion. However, earlier this month, after Fisher failed to win the nearly $1 billion in contracts from the latest round of national emergency-appropriated funding, it filed a protest with the U.S. General Accounting Office criticizing the selection process, calling it "flawed."

Also earlier this month, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shortlisted 12 contractors to bid on construction work sometime during the next five years; the Pentagon moved $1.5 billion to assist with border wall construction (Congress was notified of the move May 10); and a previously contested contract, worth $187 million, was canceled due to protest.

According to the Washington Examiner, at the beginning of this month, the Corps informed the Government Accountability Office's lawyers of its decision to reevaluate its choice to grant Barnard Construction Co. a $187 million contract. The contract covered building roughly seven miles of steel bollard fence near Yuma, Arizona.

Funding Blocked

According to Newsweek, Gilliam's injunction only affects 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. As it stands, the injunction only involves construction work in Yuma and El Paso, Texas. This also does not include the billions in funding the president sought from the Pentagon when the state of national emergency was initially announced.

Gilliam also announced that parties would meet to discuss the matter on June 5, though, according to Newsweek, this is unlikely to head toward a trial anytime soon. The president has announced his intention to appeal the ruling, while it is also likely that the Justice Department will also move to appeal, since Gilliam is a District Court judge making a nationwide injunction. The Justice Department has not made any such announcement over whether it will file an appeal, however.

"The case is not about whether the challenged border barrier construction plan is wise or unwise. It is not about whether the plan is the right or wrong policy response to existing conditions at the southern border of the United States," said Gilliam.

"Instead, this case presents strictly legal questions regarding whether the proposed plan for funding border barrier construction exceeds the Executive Branch’s lawful authority under the Constitution and a number of statutes duly enacted by Congress."

Crowdfunded Border Wall Work

According to CNN, We Build the Wall, a group founded by an Air Force veteran, has broken ground on border wall construction on private property in New Mexico. Work commenced near the New Mexico-Texas state line, not far from El Paso. The group raised millions of dollars through GoFundMe.

Kris Kobach, former Kansas secretary of state, told CNN that half a mile of border wall was already complete, costing between $6 million and $8 million. Fisher is the contractor completing the work.

Steve Bannon, who previously served as White House chief strategist and now serves as a chair for the group’s advisory board, noted that the private project connects two 21-mile sections of fencing that is already in place. CNN has not yet been able to verify this claim, however.

Fundraising efforts date back back to December 2018, with donations currently totaling $20 million. Kobach noted that over 300,000 people donated, with the average donation amounting to $67. When donors asked about construction progress, especially in light of all the money raised, organizers responded with a need for secrecy to protect the project.

Customs and Border Protection spokesperson Roger Maier noted that the endeavor is not connected to CPB efforts.


Tagged categories: Construction; Government; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management

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