A Judge Just Permanently Blocked Trump From Using $2.5 Billion in Military Money For His Border Wall

The president tried to use the photo of drowned migrants to defend his plans.

Kazuhiro Nogi/AP

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The budget for President Donald Trump’s border wall has shrunk by $2.5 billion, after a federal judge in Northern California issued a pair of rulings blocking the president from using military funding to build parts of the wall on Friday.

Hours after the ruling, Trump said that a father and daughter from El Salvador, whose drowning in the Rio Grande was made famous by a chilling photo circulating this week, would not have died if his border wall was built. Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-month-old daughter Valeria drowned while trying to cross the river into the United States, after failing to be granted asylum in Mexico. “If they thought it was hard to get in, they wouldn’t be coming up,” the president claimed during a G-20 press conference in Osaka, Japan. And if congressional Democrats just allowed Trump to do what he wanted with immigration law, he added, “things like that wouldn’t happen.”

In May, Judge Haywood Gilliam Jr. blocked the White House from using Department of Defense funding to build a border wall in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, according to Politico. Friday’s ruling makes that ban permanent, and expands it to more areas of the border, including California. In his May order, Gilliam wrote that the Trump administration’s effort to shift military funds violated the “fundamental separation of powers principles dating back to the earliest days of our Republic.”

Trump called Gilliam an “activist Obama appointed judge” in a May 25 tweet.

This piece has been corrected to accurately reflect the age of the child who drowned at the border.

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Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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