Updated: May 17, 2019 / 7:14 a.m.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration that was used to divert more than $6 billion to build a wall across the border of Mexico will face its first trial on Friday when both advocacy groups and states are expected to ask a federal judge to block the funding.
At Friday’s hearing, the president’s authority to construct a wall using funds that Congress declined to approve for the amount he requested will be questioned to determine a verdict.
Back In February, the U.S. Congress approved $1.375 billion for the construction of “primary pedestrian fencing” along Texas’s southeast border. Unfortunately, the funding was lesser of Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion to build border walls in the states of Arizona and New Mexico as well as Texas.
In February, Trump declared a national emergency and was able to divert $601 million from a Treasury forfeiture fund, $3.6 billion from military construction and $2.5 billion earmarked for Department of Defense counterdrug programs to obtain the additional money needed to construct the wall.
“Congress’s refusal to fund President Trump’s wall isn’t an emergency, it’s a democracy,” said a statement from Dror Ladin, who is an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents plaintiffs in the case.
The hearing is expected to happen the same week that Trump outlined proposals to improve security along the southwest border and shift immigration policy to favor well-educated English speakers over a system that emphasizes uniting families.