TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Environmental groups still have work to do to stop the building of President Trump’s wall and save wildlife and surrounding communities on the United States and Mexico border.
Justices declined Monday to hear an appeal involving construction of 145 miles of steel-bollard walls along the border in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas.
The Center for Biological Diversity and other environmental groups challenged more than a dozen waivers that allowed Homeland Security to move past 40 different environmental laws necessary to allow the quick construction of border fencing.
The groups argued that violates the Constitution’s separation of powers. But, a lower court dismissed the case.
“The decision today is extremely disappointing,” said Jean Su, staff attorney for the Center of Biological Diversity.
“I don’t think people realize that, what’s at stake here, is a law that completely thwarts our constitution,” said Su. “And the way that is does that is that, it essentially empowers the secretary of Homeland Security, who is not democratically elected, and gives that person the legislative power to decide which one of our rights, our civil liberties, our protections should be sacrificed for the wall.”
Monday’s ruling came just a few days after an appeals court found the the administration broke the law by diverting billions of dollars in pentagon money to pay for construction.
”The wall for too long has been something that people in this country have accepted as the status quo and this is the moment where all of us have to politically demand for change of that viewpoint,” said Su. “This wall needs to be torn down and we are here to enforce the laws that have been put on the books to protect communities and wildlife all across the borderlands.”
Su said this was the “end of the line” for the specific case, but there the Center for Biological Diversity and other groups are still bringing challenges to other waivers.