On Friday US District Judge Haywood Gilliam Jr. halted the administration's efforts to redirect military-designated funds to build sections of wall on the Mexican border. His order applies to two planned projects to add 51 miles of fence in two areas, according to AP report.
"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"б Gilliam wrote in the ruling.
Gilliam issued the ruling after hearing arguments last week in two cases. California and 19 other states brought one lawsuit; the Sierra Club and a coalition of communities along the border brought the other, AP report says.
Earlier AP reported that a federal judge was expected to decide on Friday whether to block the White House from spending billions of dollars to build a wall with money secured under Trump's declaration of a national emergency.
While the order prevents the Defence Department from providing $1 billion in funds for the project and questions the use of another $1.5 billion, it does not reportedly prevent the authorities from seeking funding from other sources.
The judge said that the authorities planned to use the funds to start building wall sections as soon as Saturday, local media reported. The indictment reportedly concerned the Texas and Arizona segments of the border.
An increasing number of migrants from Central America have reportedly been arriving to the US southern border in recent months, prompting US President Donald Trump to declare a national emergency in order to secure funds to build a border wall.
On Wednesday, Acting Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan approved a request by the Department of Homeland Security to provide assistance to help house the heavy flow of asylum-seeking migrants apprehended at the US-Mexico border.
Shanahan had previously told reporters that this would be the last request the Defense Department would approve.
The US president, however, has been struggling to find financing for the wall as Congress has refused to allocate billions of dollars from the budget at Trump's request.