Environmental Group First to Sue Trump Administration for Border Wall

By Yessenia Funes Apr 12, 2017

The first lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall was filed today (April 12)—and it came from an environmental group.

The Center for Biological Diversity filed the complaint with Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) against the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona.

The group and congressman are calling on the two agencies to investigate how the wall and its subsequent enforcement programs would affect the environment through an Environmental Impact Statement. The most recent statement hasn’t been updated since 2001, the complaint states. Plaintiffs are also asking the court to issue an injunction on the project until it complies with these requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act.

“Trump’s border wall will divide and destroy the incredible communities and wild landscapes along the border,” said Kierán Suckling, the Center’s executive director, in a press release.

The issue is not only the wall, but also the road construction, off-road vehicle patrols, proposed high-intensity lighting and any base camps or checkpoints.

“These actions significantly impact the borderlands environment stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, which is home to millions of people, endangered species like jaguars and Mexican gray wolves and protected federal lands like Big Bend National Park and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument,” the release reads.

As Grijalva says in the statement, this project would not only “perpetuate human suffering,” it would also put at risk animal populations and habitats that need this land to remain open for migration routes and successful repopulation.

President Trump pushed forth his border-wall campaign promise in a January executive order. While he’s faced heavy criticism from immigration activists, they haven’t yet taken legal action against the project, which is estimated to cost U.S. taxpayers as much as $21.6 billion.