The Center for Biological Diversity and Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) have joined forces to file the first lawsuit against Trump’s proposed border wall. The suit, filed on April 12, calls for government agencies to conduct an in-depth investigation of the environmental, social and economic impacts of the wall before construction could begin.
Environmental analyses typically take several years to complete, so the process could delay construction indefinitely, particularly if voters cause a Congressional shakeup in 2018.
“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,” Grijalva said in a statement. “These laws exist to protect the health and well-being of our people, our wildlife, and the places they live. Trump’s wall – and his fanatical approach to our southern border – will do little more than perpetuate human suffering while irrevocably damaging our public lands and the wildlife that depend on them.”
Increased border militarization – including the construction of the current border wall – has led to the deaths of more than 6,000 migrants. It has divided communities that once lived in harmony, prevented the Tohono O’odham people from visiting sacred sites, and hobbled the borderland economy.
It also ruins fragile and beautiful ecosystems through the construction of walls, roads, check-points and base camps. Thousands of miles of Border Patrol and smuggler vehicle tracks have damaged federally protected wilderness areas. At Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and Nogales, Mexico, the border wall stopped stormwater from flowing, causing flash floods and the deaths of two people.
Border walls do not prevent people from migrating, but they do block animals from seeking food and water. This could imperil hundreds of species, incuding endangered species such as jaguars, gray wolves and pronghorn antelopes.
“Endangered species like jaguars and ocelots don’t observe international boundaries and should not be sacrificed for unnecessary border militarization. Their survival and recovery depends on being able to move long distances across the landscape and repopulate places on both sides of the border where they’ve lived for thousands of years,” announced Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, which is based in Tucson, Arizona. “Trump’s border wall will divide and destroy the incredible communities and wild landscapes along the border.”