An environmental group and an Arizona Democrat legislator have filed the first lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s border wall, though the case may be thrown out.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Center for Biological Diversity, a well-known national environmental group along, with Rep. Raúl Grijalva, (D-AZ), the highest ranking member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, filed a legal challenge Wednesday against the Trump’s administration over its proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall, which will reportedly start in San Diego County.
The lawsuit specifically names the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which has been soliciting bids for the wall project. The agency informed Breitbart News that it is standard procedure to not comment on any pending litigation.
The Hill reports that the lawsuit focuses on a requirement by Department of Homeland Security to draft a new environmental review to examine the impacts of the wall on the environment.
“Trump’s border wall will divide and destroy the incredible communities and wild landscapes along the border,” Kierán Suckling, the group’s executive director, said in a Wednesday statement, reported by The Hill. “Endangered species like jaguars and ocelots don’t observe international boundaries and should not be sacrificed for unnecessary border militarization,” he added.
The lawsuit’s prospects are not promising, but the goal may be to delay, rather than stop, the building of the wall. A law passed in 2006 — the same year the the Secure Fence Act became law — will likely trump the legal action. It gives DHS a waiver from environmental laws that hamper construction everywhere else in California, granting the department tremendous latitude in the border region in the name of national security.
In recent months, the border wall, which was a controversial linchpin of President Trump’s campaign, has become the symbol of resistance to his policies. Pension funds in California are threatening to divest from any company that participates in building the border wall, and the California legislature is planning to consider a lifetime ban from state contracts against any company that works on the wall.
In an interesting side note, a Los Angeles Times report noted that one contractor addressed threats to wildlife — raised by the lawsuit and Democrat lawmakers alike — with an innovative design that allows some animals to cross over the wall.