- California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a lawsuit Wednesday on behalf of the state and the California Coastal Commission against the Trump administration in an attempt to stop construction of the U.S.–Mexico border wall.
- Becerra alleges that the Department of Homeland Security didn’t submit the required environmental impact statements to build wall prototypes and other related projects in San Diego and Imperial counties and improperly waived laws to speed up construction using exemptions based on an immigration law that expired in 2008.
- U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions maintained that wall construction will move forward pending funding, and that it is the U.S. government’s responsibility to control and secure its borders, according to The Washington Post.
The border wall’s construction was central to President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, particularly the assertion that Mexico would foot the bill for the project. Mexican officials have stated emphatically on several occasions that they will not contribute financially toward building the wall, which raises questions about the project’s viability.
The Department of Homeland Security found that supplementing approximately 650 miles of existing barriers in order to achieve a full border wall could cost as much as $22 billion. Yet the Trump administration requested only $1.6 billion for wall construction in its 2018 budget, a measure the House approved but that is expected to get pushback from Senate Democrats.
Another border-wall battle the White House has to overcome is negative public sentiment and potential reluctance on the part of contractors to be associated with the project. Some municipalities have threatened to barcompanies that bid on the project from participating in future public work. AECOM and other large AEC firms came out early on in the process to say they would not be involved.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has so far awarded eight bids to six companies to build prototype wall sections out of concrete as well as alternative materials.
Some environmentalists in Texas are pushing back on CBP’s plans to build a 3-mile section of border wall through the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge along the Rio Grande River. The refuge, according to The Texas Tribune, is home to more than 400 bird species, endangered wildcats and some of the last sabal palm trees in the state.