California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a lawsuit on behalf of the state of California, alleging that Donald Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the Mexico border violates a number of environmental protection laws. Becerra’s lawsuit aims to block Trump’s Mexico wall.
A Lawsuit to Block Trump’s Mexico Wall
Attorney General Becerra, who called the wall project “medieval,” announced the legal action this week as he stood in front of the existing border fence near San Diego.
“No one gets to ignore the laws. Not even the president of the United States,” Becerra told the Los Angeles Times. “The border between the U.S. and Mexico spans some 2,000 miles. The list of laws violated by the president’s administration in order to build his campaign wall is almost as long.”
Becerra said the federal government had failed to comply with federal environmental laws. In particular, he said the wall construction project was based on the improper waiver of 37 federal statutes, many of which are aimed at protecting the environment.
The lawsuit states that the Department of Homeland Security decided to build the wall without complying with the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act or the Coastal Zone Management Act, to name just a few.
Filed in federal court in San Diego on Wednesday, September 20, the lawsuit states its purpose is “to protect the State of California’s residents, natural resources, economic interests, procedural rights, and sovereignty from violations of the United States Constitution” and federal law.
The lawsuit also alleges that federal officials have not shown any data that supports Trump’s claim that the wall will reduce illegal entry into the U.S., nor that such a problem even exists in that area.
Would A Wall Stop Drug Smuggling?
Trump’s constant ranting that the border wall will stop what he believes are massive amounts of drugs—some of which are being tossed into the U.S. from Mexico—has been disputed by an organization that knows a thing or two on the topic: the DEA.
The DEA and other U.S. agencies have confirmed that the most common method of smuggling drugs is still through official U.S. entry points where drugs are concealed in passenger vehicles or hidden among legitimate goods on freight vehicles. Neither of these methods would be significantly impacted by Trump’s Mexico wall.
But Trump is not known to listen to reason. California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego), who was with Becerra when he announced the lawsuit, said the wall is unnecessary.
“Maybe to people in Iowa, it sounds like a really good idea,” she said. “We don’t need more structure. We need a good relationship [with Mexico].”
The lawsuit also states that the wall would have a chilling effect on tourism to the United States from Mexico. Already, Trump’s travel bans, his racist remarks about Mexico and his troubling attitude about law enforcement overreach, have contributed to a decrease in international tourism.
“The international travel market is ultracompetitive, and the U.S. is falling behind,” Roger Dow, the president and chief executive of the US Travel Association, told the New York Times recently.