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Arizona - U.S. Customs & Border Protection Southwest Border Fence Line. Photographer: Donna Burton
Arizona - U.S. Customs & Border Protection Southwest Border Fence Line. Photographer: Donna Burton

Arizona congressman sues Trump administration over border wall

Raúl Grijalva of Arizona joins Center for Biological Diversity in call for environmental analysis that could delay any construction for several years

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Citing environmental concerns, an Arizona congressman filed a lawsuit Wednesday to block President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall.

The suit, filed by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and the Center for Biological Diversity, calls for an in-depth investigation into the wall’s potential impact on the environment.

“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,” Grijlava said in a statement.

“These laws exist to protect the health and well-being of our people, our wildlife, and the places they live.”

Such a review would probably take several years to complete, delaying indefinitely the fulfillment of one of Trump’s signature campaign promises.

“It will take a significant amount of time to thoroughly analyze [the impacts of the wall], and that’s the point,” said Randy Serraglio, a spokesman for the Center for Biological Diversity, as reported in The Guardian.

“What we learned about the border wall in the past 10 years is that it’s hugely expensive, it doesn’t work, and it does a tremendous amount of damage,” Serraglio said. “The people in the United States have the right to know what the damage is going to be, what it’s going to cost, and whether it’s going to be effective. Those are questions the Trump administration is not interested in answering.”

The lawsuit invokes the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires environmental review of major federal programs.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has identified some areas within 50 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border as “critical habitat” for at least 25 species.

Grijalva represents Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes about 300 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump began his presidential campaign in June 2015 with the promise of a border wall to keep out Mexican immigrants. In the first week of his administration, he signed an executive ordercalling for homeland security to “begin immediate construction” of the wall.

Homeland Security has since begun a bidding process for contractors to build prototypes for the multibillion-dollar project. 

 

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