TUCSON – Construction for the U.S.- Mexico border wall in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge will be delayed until October after a legal challenge with conservation groups.
According to court documents, construction was set to begin on Aug. 22 but has been pushed back 45 days.
On Aug. 6, the Center for Biological Diversity and two of its partners filed a preliminary injunction to stop border wall construction near the Arizona-Mexico border.
Back in 2017, Trump made an executive order to create a physical wall on the southern border with hopes of preventing, detracting and deterring illegal immigration and other border-related issues.
We have a State of Emergency at our Southern Border. Border Patrol, our Military and local Law Enforcement are doing a great job, but without the Wall, which is now under major construction, you cannot have Border Security. Drugs, Gangs and Human Trafficking must be stopped!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2019
According to CBD, the Trump administration plans to waive dozens of environmental and public health laws, including the Endangered Species Act in order to quick start the wall’s construction.
“It’s senseless to let bulldozers rip a permanent scar through our borderlands’ wildlife refuges and national monuments before the court decides whether the waiver is legal,” said Jean Su, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Trump’s ignoring laws and diverting funds to build this destructive border wall. His grotesque barrier would destroy some of the border’s most spectacular and biologically diverse places. We’ll do everything in our power to stop that.”
According to a press release, CBD and other conversation advocates filed a motion for a preliminary injunction, claiming the president of the Department of Homeland Security does not have authority to waive the wilderness protection laws. The organization said the creation of the border wall would threaten more than 90 endangered or threated species who inhabit the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border, including the jaguar.
Back in 2017, U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva filed a lawsuit asking the Trump administration to conduct a detailed analysis of the environmental impacts of the construction of the border wall.
The suit is currently pending.