NEW YORK — The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, Sierra Club, ACLU, and ACLU of Northern California filed a motion today to immediately stop the illegal construction of President Trump’s border wall. The plaintiffs in the case, the Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition are asking the court to declare that Trump’s declaration of a national emergency is unconstitutional and unlawful.
“We’ll fight against every dollar unlawfully spent and against every inch of unlawful construction,” said David Donatti, attorney and Samuels Legal Fellow for the ACLU of Texas. “We cannot let the Trump administration undermine our Constitution and our democracy, destroy our lands, and militarize our communities, to fulfill a campaign promise based on hate and exclusion. We are filing this emergency motion to prevent irreversible damage to our lands and the people who cherish them.”
The motion for a preliminary injunction is asking the court to block Trump’s attempt to fund the wall by diverting emergency military construction funds and raiding military pension and pay accounts. The Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition have members who live in, protect, and treasure the lands that the Trump administration has targeted for the construction.
“The walls and hyper-militarization that President Trump continues to demand by threatening a border shutdown will only harm the region, and the nation as a whole,” said Vicki B. Gaubeca, director of the Southern Border Communities Coalition. “The lengths that Trump is willing to go to prop up his sham national emergency are tearing apart the binational and multi-cultural fabric of our region. With this lawsuit, we’re sending the message that the Trump administration cannot abuse our nation’s democratic institutions for its own political gain.”
Today’s motion is the latest development in the lawsuit filed by the ACLU and the Sierra Club in February challenging President Trump’s attempt to circumvent Congress’ rejection of his border wall. A border wall would hurt communities living at the border, endanger wildlife, and have damaging impacts on the environment.
“The environmental and social consequences of adding hundreds of miles of additional barriers in three states would be devastating,” said Gloria D. Smith, managing attorney at the Sierra Club. “Trump’s border wall would cause irreversible damage to desert ecosystems and sabotage wildlife protection efforts by destroying habitat and wildlife migration corridors. Endangered species could disappear from our southern border, while fragile landscapes are decimated by this destructive and pointless vanity project. This is yet another illegal and dangerous effort by the president to further his anti-immigrant and anti-environment agenda.”
The lawsuit argues the president’s declaration and diversion of funds violates core constitutional principles and multiple statutes.