A US judge, who was once criticized for his Mexican heritage by President Donald Trump, has ruled that the Trump administration has the authority to waive environmental restrictions to build a wall on the US-Mexican border, according to a court document.
In January, DHS announced it had waived environmental, natural resource and land management laws to speed up the construction of a border barrier in the US State of New Mexico. This came after The Centre for Biological Diversity and other conservation groups challenged the Homeland Security Department’s use of a 2005 congressional authorisation to continue ignoring the Endangered Species Act and other laws during border-security construction. They argued that the 2005 waiver authorisation — part of the REAL ID Act — was intended only to expedite specific lengths of fence built by the George W. Bush administration in areas of frequent illegal border crossings.DHS plans to replace an old barrier along a 20-mile segment of the border with a see-through wall.
As a presidential candidate, Trump drew fierce criticism in June 2016 when he said that Curiel, who was born in the US state of Indiana to parents who emigrated from Mexico, was biased against him due to his Mexican heritage.
Curiel’s border wall ruling on Tuesday focused on “whether the Congress has the power under the US Constitution to enact the challenged law and whether the Secretary of Department of Homeland Security properly exercised the powers delegated by Congress,” the document said.
Center for Biological Diversity attorney Brian Segee said his organization would appeal the ruling.
“The Trump administration has completely overreached its authority in its rush to build this destructive, senseless wall,” Segee said. “They’re giving unprecedented, sweeping power to an unelected agency chief to ignore dozens of laws and crash through hundreds of miles of spectacular borderlands. This is unconstitutional and shouldn’t be allowed to stand.”