Claiming that Trump’s proposed wall on the southern border with Mexico violates environmental law, an environmental group is now looking to sue the Trump administration.
The Center for Biological Diversity, along with Democratic Rep. Raul Graijalva (Ariz.), filed the lawsuit. Both parties are claiming that the Department of Homeland Security is under an obligation to draft an environmental review to determine the impacts of the wall and other border enforcement measures.
“Trump’s border wall will divide and destroy the incredible communities and wild landscapes along the border,” the group’s executive director, Kierán Suckling, said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Endangered species like jaguars and ocelots don’t observe international boundaries and should not be sacrificed for unnecessary border militarization,” he added.
“American environmental laws are some of the oldest and strongest in the world, and they should apply to the borderlands just as they do everywhere else,” said Grijalva, co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He is also the top Democrat in the House Natural Resources Committee.
“Trump’s wall — and his fanatical approach to our southern border — will do little more than perpetuate human suffering while irrevocably damaging our public lands and the wildlife that depend on them.”
According to the environmental group, the lawsuit is the first against President Trump’s infamous border wall since he signed an executive order in January to commence its construction.
The border wall, and a significant increase in border security was a major campaign promise from Trump. He had pledged that Mexico would pay for the wall, while the Mexican government has so far refused.
Green groups are concerned that a fence or a border wall would destroy the habitats of several species, and cut off migration routes for animals that inhabit the areas near the US-Mexico border.
In 2006, a law gave Homeland Security extensive power over the border area and the ability to renounce several legal requirements in order to keep the border safe.
However, the Center for Biological Diversity is adamant that the agency is obliged to determine the environmental impacts of the border wall.