President Trump on Saturday ripped into what he described as an “activist Obama appointed judge” after a federal judge blocked the administration’s plan to reallocate money to building a wall on the southern border with Mexico.
“Another activist Obama appointed judge has just ruled against us on a section of the Southern Wall that is already under construction,” he said. “This is a ruling against Border Security and in favor of crime, drugs and human trafficking.”
Trump went on to say that the administration is asking for “an expedited appeal.”
U.S District Court Judge Haywood Gilliam’s ruling late Friday temporarily prevents the administration from using reallocated funds for two wall-related projects in Arizona and Texas by diverting money that Congress has not approved.
Trump declared a national emergency in February and is using that declaration to redirect funding from the Pentagon, after Congress did not agree to the president’s demand for more than $5 billion in wall funding.
“Congress’s ‘absolute’ control over federal expenditures — even when that control may frustrate the desires of the executive branch regarding initiatives it views as important — is not a bug in our constitutional system. It is a feature of that system, and an essential one,” Gilliam, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, wrote in his opinion.
“In short, the position that when Congress declines the executive’s request to appropriate funds, the executive nonetheless may simply find a way to spend those funds ‘without Congress’ does not square with fundamental separation of powers principles dating back to the earliest days of our Republic,” he said.
Gilliam’s ruling does not stop the Trump administration from using other sources to fund the wall, and he rejected a request by California and 19 other states to prevent the diversion of $600 million in Treasury funds to the wall.
Trump’s declaration of a national emergency, coming after a 35-day government shutdown, was controversial on both sides of the aisle. A resolution disapproving of the declaration passed both chambers of Congress, but was vetoed at the president’s desk. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called it a “power grab by a disappointed president” in a statement.
Congress had OK’d $1.4 billion for border security, but it wasn’t close to the $5 billion Trump requested.
The White House eyed an additional $8 billion in existing funding that could be moved for the wall, $3.5 billion of which could be shifted over from the Defense Department’s military construction budget via the emergency declaration.
Trump predicted a difficult legal fight when he declared the national emergency, saying he believed it would end up in the Supreme Court.
“We will have a national emergency, and we will then be sued,” Trump said, adding that the federal appeals courts could well rule against his administration. “Then we’ll end up in the Supreme Court, and hopefully we’ll get a fair shake, and we’ll win at the Supreme Court — just like the [travel] ban.”
The case is one of a number of lawsuits the administration is facing over the declaration. On Thursday, a judge in Washington heard arguments on a lawsuit from the House of Representatives that claims it violates the Constitution.
The judge was considering whether the House can sue the president instead of resolving a dispute through the political process.
Fox News’ Louis Casiano, Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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U.S. District Court Judge Haywood Gilliam’s ruling applies to wall construction in specific areas in El Paso, Texas and Yuma, Arizona. Trump declared a national emergency in February to redirect funding from the Department of Defense to begin construction of his long-promised border wall.
“In short, the position that when Congress declines the Executive’s request to appropriate funds, the Executive nonetheless may simply find a way to spend those funds “without Congress” does not square with fundamental separation of powers principles dating back to the earliest days of our Republic,” wrote Gilliam, who was appointed to the bench by former President Barack Obama.
The move was a workaround Congress, which had not given in to his demands to fund the barrier. The wall has been Trump’s signature promise. Gilliam’s ruling doesn’t prevent the Trump administration from using other sources to fund the wall.
He said Trump’s plan to divert Pentagon funds for border-wall construction was unconstitutional because the argument White House relied on applied to unforeseen needs, Politico reported.
“Defendants’ argument that the need for the requested border barrier construction funding was ‘unforeseen’ cannot logically be squared with the Administration’s multiple requests for funding for exactly that purpose dating back to at least early 2018,” the Obama nominee wrote.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a Fox News request for comment.
Trump declared the national emergency after a stand-off between him and Democrats over border wall funding resulted in the 35-day partial government shutdown.
Around 20 states, environmental groups and civil liberties groups sued the administration to halt plans for the wall.
“This order is a win for our system of checks and balances, the rule of law, and border communities,” Dror Ladin, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project, said in a statement. “The court blocked all the wall projects currently slated for immediate construction. If the administration begins illegally diverting additional military funds, we’ll be back in court to block that as well.”
The ACLU filed a motion on behalf of the Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition to block wall construction.
This is a developing story. Check back with Fox News for updates.
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The Transportation Security Administration plans to use loose change left in trays at airports to partly fund the $232 million that its parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security, has requested to help pay for border operations if Congress doesn’t agree to its $1.1 billion funding request.
The TSA is just one of almost two dozen agencies under the DHS umbrella, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, that could be forced to dole out millions of dollars from their budgets to pay for the ramped-up operations along the United States’ southern border.
“The Department is considering all options to address the humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border,” a DHS spokesperson said in a statement to Fox News. “We will continue to work with our workforce to find dynamic solutions and funding to address this very serious problem.”
The spokesperson added: “As part of this effort, it is our responsibility to explore fiscal mechanisms that will ensure the safety and welfare of both our workforce and the migrant population, which is also reflected in the supplemental request submitted to Congress.”
According to internal TSA emails and a PowerPoint presentation from last week, which were obtained by NBC News, the agency has outlined a plan on how to handle the “tax” the DHS could levy upon it. Along with using the $3 million in loose change found in airport trays across the country, the TSA would use $50 million set aside to purchase advanced airport screening equipment and $64 million from a worker’s compensation fund set up in 2010 for injured TSA employees.
The TSA is also considering using funding for Transportation Security Officers – who run security screenings at airports – to pay the DHS in a move that could add to the already lengthy wait times for travelers at the nation’s airports during the busy summer travel season.
President Trump has asked Congress for $4.5 billion dollars to deal with the influx of migrants from Central America crossing over the U.S.’s southern border with Mexico – with $1.1 billion set aside specifically for “border operations.” The White House argues that this money will be used for “personnel expenses, additional detention beds, and operations combating human smuggling and trafficking.”
Trump’s border wall plan has been met with fierce resistance from Democrats and has become ensnared in a number of legal battles.
A federal judge in Oakland last week heard arguments in two lawsuits seeking to block the White House from spending money from the Defense and Treasury departments for the project. California and 19 other states brought one lawsuit; the Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, filed the other.
The plaintiffs asked U.S. District Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. to block the shifting of funds and construction on the wall. They want a quick decision, arguing that some of the Pentagon-funded projects could begin in eight days.
In another case, a federal judge in Washington on Thursday will consider a bid by the House to prevent Trump from spending any Defense Department money for a border wall. At stake is billions of dollars that would allow Trump to make major progress on his signature campaign promise heading into his campaign for a second term.
The president’s adversaries say the emergency declaration was an illegal attempt to ignore Congress, which authorized far less wall spending than Trump wanted. Trump grudgingly accepted congressional approval of $1.375 billion to end a 35-day government shutdown on Feb. 15 and declared the emergency in almost the same breath.
The White House says it has identified up to $8.1 billion that it could spend on the project.
Trump’s actions “amount to a usurpation of Congress’ legislative powers in violation of bedrock separation of powers principles embedded in the Constitution,” the state attorneys general wrote in their lawsuit. The administration argues that Trump is protecting national security as unprecedented numbers of Central American asylum-seeking families arrive at the U.S. border.
The Defense Department has already transferred $1 billion to border wall coffers in March and another $1.5 billion last week. Patrick Shanahan, acting defense secretary, may decide as soon as Wednesday whether to transfer an additional $3.6 billion.
The DHS last week also waived environmental impact and other reviews to replace sections of wall in California and Arizona under a law that gives the secretary sweeping powers to plan construction.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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“If you become VERY proficient at English, someday you will understand the meaning of the word ‘WALL,’” Coulter tweeted at the president.
Trump’s planned overhaul would move the United States from a merit-based system to one based on points. Highly skilled workers would be favored, but age, education, English proficiency and whether they have a well-paid job offer would also be factored in.
“If adopted, our plan will transform America’s immigration system into the pride of our nation and the envy of the modern world,” Trump said from the Rose Garden.
Only around 12 percent of immigrants are admitted into the U.S. based on employment skills, while 66 percent are admitted because they have a relative living in the country. Under the plan, those numbers would reverse to 57 percent and 33 percent, respectively, according to the Trump administration.
Coulter was one of Trump’s earliest supporters but has disparaged him in recent months over his lack of progress in constructing his long-promised wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. In January, she lashed out at him for accepting a temporary funding bill to reopen the government without money for the border wall.
“Good news for George Herbert Walker Bush: As of today, he is no longer the biggest wimp ever to serve as President of the United States,” she tweeted at the time.
In March, Trump fired back, dubbing Coulter a “Wacky Nut Job” and insisting that he was “winning” on the border despite pushback from Democrats.
“Wacky Nut Job @AnnCoulter, who still hasn’t figured out that, despite all odds and an entire Democrat Party of Far Left Radicals against me (not to mention certain Republicans who are sadly unwilling to fight), I am winning on the Border. Major sections of Wall are being built …” Trump tweeted.
Fox News reporter Adam Shaw contributed to this report.
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Democrats seeking their party’s 2020 presidential nomination seem to be backing away from the #AbolishICE movement as a new poll shows the call to dismantle the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has failed to catch on with voters.
Their move toward more centrist immigration positions seems somewhat isolating for Democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has renewed her call to abolish the immigration agency.
Last year, many prominent Democrats — including Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand and Bernie Sanders, who are all now running for president — all boldly declared their support for doing away with the agency that was linked to the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy on immigration, which has since been rescinded.
But with the 2020 primaries looming closer, Dems making a White House run are seeking out safer positions.
Though he lives in the border town of El Paso, Texas, former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke avoided talking about ICE on Tuesday when asked about border and immigration issues on “The View.” O’Rourke instead made vague statements against Trump’s proposal of a border wall, adding that Washington needs to “change immigration laws to respect our values,” and treat immigrants with the dignity and respect by honoring U.S. asylum laws.
But Ocasio-Cortez, who at 29 is too young to seek the presidency, doesn’t face the same pressure to move to the center.
“I think ‘Abolish ICE’ is a call to action,” the New York Democrat said in April. “I don’t think an agency that systematically and repeatedly violates human rights can be reformed.”
A new poll conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research may explain why Democratic presidential contenders are no longer talking about ICE on their campaign trails. Only a quarter of Democrats said they support the abolishment of ICE despite 57 percent of Democrats answering they still had a negative view of the agency, the Federalist, a conservative website, reported.
Several activists behind #AbolishICE told BuzzFeed News they feel betrayed by Democrats who they say used the progressive movement to gain political ground before the topic became too controversial.
“It’s a little harmful,” said Miguel Andrade, a spokesman for Juntos, a Latinx activist group in Philadelphia. “Everybody was using it as the big hot topic or issue, but nobody is putting the model forward of what that means, or the possibilities of what that looks like.”
Democratic presidential contenders who initially clung to left-wing, progressive policies are now backtracking. When Ocasio-Cortez spoke against ICE shortly after her victory last summer, Gillibrand said she agreed with her stance.
“I don’t think ICE today is working as intended,” Gillibrand told CNN’s Chris Cuomo in June. Instead, Gillibrand said, the U.S. should “reimagine ICE under a new agency.” Her campaign now claims she never called to “abolish” ICE.
In a June 2018 Facebook post days later, Warren said, “we need to rebuild our immigration system, start by replacing ICE.” Sen. Kamala Harris told MSNBC “there’s no question that we need to reexamine ICE,” adding that “we should probably think about starting from scratch.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted in July 2018 that “it is time to do what Americans overwhelmingly want: abolish the cruel, dysfunctional immigration system we have today and pass comprehensive immigration reform.”
The Democratic Party has failed to put forth a unified stance on immigration, and many Republicans used the #AbolishICE movement to their advantage, airing political ads during midterms that painted Democrats as weak on border security, Buzzfeed News reported.
Many 2020 hopefuls now approach immigration by talking about more popular subjects, like ending the separation of children at the border or advocating of Dreamers, but steer clear of attacking ICE.
Warren is in favor of comprehensive immigration reform, reversing cuts in aid to Central America and “making sure we provide the support needed so mamas don’t have to flee with their babies for their lives,” an aide told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Other 2020 Democrats have commented on immigration without making it the forefront of their presidential campaigns. In April, Harris introduced a bill that would permit Dreamers who are temporarily protected from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to be hired in congressional offices, the newspaper reported.
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Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told “Fox & Friends” Tuesday that President Trump demanded “better results” at the southern border during a recent meeting to discuss the ongoing migration crisis.
“‘Deliver more. The situation is extreme. Fix it,’” Shanahan said Trump told his top cops, adding: “That’s why we’re here. We understand that there’s never been a lack of commitment to fixing it. It’s just with these trends and the increases, it’s getting worse.”
McAleenan agreed with Shanahan, comparing the current situation at the border to the situation five years ago under the Obama administration.
“This crisis is much bigger than what we faced back then, and we need Congress’ help,” McAleenan said.
Shanahan and McAleenan visited the border in Texas over the weekend. During the visit, Shanahan said that he intended to accelerate planning to secure the border and bolster the administration’s ability to accomplish that without the Pentagon’s continuous help.
He also offered assurances the Pentagon would not withdraw its military support prematurely.
On Friday, a defense official confirmed to Fox News that the Defense Department had approved a plan to spend an additional $1.5 billion to build 80 more miles of wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Shanahan approved the reallocation of funds, which were originally earmarked for support of Afghan security forces and other projects, to help pay for the wall along the southern border.
“It’s not out in the desert, it’s where it stops the flow of drugs, stops the flow of illicit activity, and we’re moving outward,” he noted. “We’re doing things in months that used to take years, and I feel really good about the progress.”
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The Pentagon has approved a plan to spend an additional $1.5 billion to build 80 more miles of wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, a U.S. defense official confirmed to Fox News Friday.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan approved the re-allocation of funds, which were originally earmarked for support of Afghan security forces and other projects, to help pay for the wall along the southern border.
“Today, I authorized the transfer of $1.5 billion toward the construction of more than 80 miles of border barrier,” he said. “The funds were drawn from a variety of sources, including cost savings, programmatic changes, and revised requirements, and therefore will have minimal impact on force readiness.”
In March, Shanahan approved the first transfer of Defense Department dollars and redirected $1 billion to help build nearly 60 miles of wall in Yuma, Ariz. and El Paso, Texas.
The combined total of $2.5 billion is in response to President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the border.
But the plan to divert Pentagon funding has sparked criticism from congressional Democrats, who accused Shanahan of not seeking approval to “reprogram” the funds without congressional authority. Shanahan and other senior defense officials claimed in response they did not have to get permission from Congress despite the objections from Democratic lawmakers.
Shanahan, who has said he plans to visit the border on Saturday, said that the Pentagon is “fully engaged” in fixing the border crisis. He said that more than 4,000 troops and 19 aircraft are supporting Customs and Border Protection personnel.
The funds are being reprogrammed from the Afghan Security Forces Fund, a project focused on chemical weapons, Air Force programs, savings related to a military retirement system, and coalition support funds. The Pentagon is also expected, at some point, to transfer up to $3.6 billion from military construction budgets to pay for wall construction, but details of those plans have yet to be announced.
The move comes after White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Thursday that the president would officially nominate Shanahan to be the next U.S. secretary of defense. The decision to have Shanahan permanently lead the department “is based upon his outstanding service to the country and his demonstrated ability to lead.”
“Acting Secretary Shanahan has proven over the last several months that he is beyond qualified to lead the Department of Defense, and he will continue to do so,” Sanders said in a statement Thursday.
Shanahan said he was “honored” by Trump’s decision.
“If confirmed by the Senate, I will continue the aggressive implementation of our National Defense Strategy,” he said. “I remain committed to modernizing the force so our remarkable Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines have everything they need to keep our military lethal and our country safe.”
Fox News’ Liz Zwirz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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Following the announcement Obama-era Border Patrol Chief Mark Morgan will lead U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), former ICE Acting Director Tom Homan backed the president’s pick.
Having spent the majority of his career in law enforcement, Morgan will now switch gears to head ICE, should he be confirmed. Homan said during an appearance on “America’s Newsroom” on Monday morning that he understands the decision to acquiesce the president’s requests.
“You have to respect Mark Morgan for jumping back in the fight, right?” Homan said.
“Mark had a tough decision, but I think he’s doing the right thing. He’s spent his career in law enforcement, the president has asked him to help and he’s come back into the fight.”
He went on to discuss the challenges that Morgan will likely face in the role, as many politicians, including 2020 Democratic hopefuls such as Elizabeth Warren, have advocated for the abolition of the department.
“I respect anybody that’s willing to come back in such a difficult fight when half of Congress does not support what ICE does. He’s going to take that on every day, so hats off to Mark Morgan, I think he’s going to do a good job,” Homan said.
President Trump announced his decision on Twitter Sunday morning, calling Morgan a “true believer and American Patriot.”
Morgan has previously vocalized his support for President Trump’s border wall and illustrated his beliefs in an opinion piece for Fox News published in March.
“It’s time to stop listening to those driven by a personal political ideology and arm yourself with facts, thorough analysis, and the perspective of credible experts. It’s an emergency,” he wrote.
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MANCHESTER, NH – Rep. Will Hurd of Texassays he’s on a mission to help Republicans try and win back the House of Representatives next year.
“We lost 40 Republican seats in the last election and if want to take back the House, that path comes through New England,” Hurd told Fox News during a quick trip to New Hampshire on Friday.
“With the unique role that New Hampshire plays in our upcoming elections, I want to help build the infrastructure and make sure we’re articulating our values to as many people as we possibly can,” the three term congressman emphasized.
But for Hurd, considered an up-and-comer in the GOP, parachuting into to the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state also sparks some speculation that the former CIA officer may have national designs in 2024.
Asked about the possibility of a White House run in four years, Hurd said “it’s very nice for people to think that that’s even in the cards.”
But he quickly added that “my goal right now is to help build the party and make sure the Republican Party, our future is strong, and we are growing that party.”
Hurd spoke with Fox News after sitting down with Victoria Sullivan, a former Republican state representative who’s hoping to oust the Democratic mayor in this year’s election in Manchester, the state’s largest city. Hurd also met with GOP Gov. Chris Sununu, and later he headlined a Rockingham County Republican event.
Longtime New Hampshire based GOP consultant David Carney, who advised then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s 2012 presidential campaign as well as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s 2014 and 2018 election victories, noted that by coming to the Granite State, Hurd “clearly has some inkling” of a potential White House run down the road.
Carney described Hurd as “a really hardworking member of Congress” who represents an extremely large district that tends to favor the Democrats.
In his interview with Fox News, Hurd spotlighted the Republican Party’s issues when it comes to appealing to younger voters, saying “it’s scary to me that if you’re under the age of 40 in a lot of places, you have to whisper that you’re a Republican. Most of the people that brought me to the party were inspired by Ronald Reagan when they were in their twenties.”
He described Texas as a “purple state” and touted that “I know how to win in tough races. I have a 71 percent Latino district. It’s a district that was one by Hillary Clinton by four points in 2016.”
Hurd, 41, is the only black Republican in the House. He said it’s an absolute “priority” to increase that number.
“If the Republican Party is shrinking, the only way we’re going to grow the party is by going into communities that haven’t seen a Republican before and talk about our values,” he said.
“We need to be able to broaden our base of support,” Hurd highlighted. “We have to make sure we’re our taking our message to different people.”
Asked if President Trump helps that cause, Hurd quickly responded “I focus on what I do, and I focus on bringing on an aspirational message.”
Hurd’s district includes more than 800 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, the most of any of the 435 districts in the House. And on the combustible issue of illegal immigration, Hurd also distanced himself from the Republican president’s mission to extend the border wall.
Hurd emphasized there’s no need for a wall along the entire southern border.
“Every mile of the border is different than every other mile. And so in some places a physical barrier makes sense. Where there’s urban to urban contact,” Hurd explained. “But for all 2,000 miles, it doesn’t. Building a wall from sea to shining sea is the most expensive and least effective way to do this. And the president has agreed with that notion. He’s stated that publicly.”
But he agreed with Trump that there’s a crisis, saying, “what we’re dealing with at the border right now is a crisis. There’s no question about it.”
In January, Hurd had a different message, saying in Rolling Stone interview that a border crisis was a “myth.”
While he doesn’t line up at all times with Trump, Hurd also was happy to take aim at the perceived leftward shift in the Democratic Party.
He emphasized that “the way we achieve real prosperity and have everyone move up the economic ladder is through free markets, not socialism.”
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President Trump asked Congress on Wednesday to provide $4.5 billion in emergency spending to fund increased measures in response to the “humanitarian and security crisis” at the U.S.-Mexico border.
However, former ICE Director Tom Homan said the president The request is sure to generate pushback from Democrats who refused to grant $8.6 billion of funding earlier this year for a border wall, resulting in a 35-day government shutdown.
“We’ve got to stop relying on Congress,” former ICE director Tom Homan said on “Fox & Friends” on Thursday.
“I don’t have any faith in Congress,” he said. “Congress has failed this president since day one.”
Homan suggested ICE begin clamping down on Central American migration, which has spiked to nearly double the apprehensions last year at 455,000 to date, by using operational tactics such as surging immigration judges to the border to handle new migrant cases to expeditiously detain and remove family units who are not granted U.S. asylum.
He also blamed Mexico for the high number of illegal border crossings, which exceeded 100,000 in March.
“Mexico needs to do more. They are not doing enough,” Homan said, reiterating Trump’s belief that criminal cartel groups within Mexico play a part in managing mass migration across the border.
The funding request asks for $3.3 billion for humanitarian efforts, which includes $2.8 billion to be allocated to child care services and additional shelter, including another 23,600 beds for unaccompanied children, $1.1 billion for border operations, and $178 million for mission support.
The request claimed Department of Health and Human Services funding at the border could run dry by June, and suggested HHS could be forced to “divert significant resources from other programs that serve vulnerable populations.”
Trump declared a national emergency in February after Congress refused to provide funding for the border wall, allocating $3.6 billion to his initiative. He also plans to budget $8.6 billion in 2020 to build the wall.
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