Judge: No defense spending on border wall while on appeal

A federal judge in California has denied the Trump administration’s request to continue work on border wall projects in New Mexico and Arizona using Defense Department funds while an appeal is pending.

“The Court does not find that Defendants are likely to prevail on the merits of their appeal,” US District Court Judge Haywood Gilliam wrote.

Last week, Gilliam blocked the use of Pentagon funds for parts of the border wall. The administration is appealing that ruling to the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals but asked Gilliam to allow work to continue during the appeal process.

“Unless stayed, the court’s injunction will irreparably harm the Government (and the public) by prohibiting the Government from taking critical steps to stop the flow of illegal drugs from entering the country through the southern border,” DOJ attorneys wrote in the motion.

They argued the Defense Department would be harmed as a result of suspending work because of the costs incurred, which could amount to around $6 million a month.

“Taken together, these harms significantly outweigh the alleged injury to Plaintiffs’ members’ aesthetic and recreational interests that the Court found sufficient to warrant a preliminary injunction,” the motion reads.

The administration asked Gilliam to come to a decision by Wednesday. Gilliam denied the motion within a day.

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect the wall projects are in New Mexico and Arizona.