Southwest Environmental Center Joins Lawsuit to Stop Proposed New Border Wall in New Mexico

Lawsuit aims to prevent the diversion of military funds for wall construction.

Border wall built in 2018 west of Santa Teresa, NM.

Last week, the Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC), American Civil Liberties Union, and Sierra Club filed a motion to halt President Trump’s most recent border wall construction project, the first to be announced under his national emergency declaration. As a member of the SBCC, the Southwest Environmental Center is a plaintiff in this case asking the court to declare that Trump’s declaration of a national emergency is unconstitutional and unlawful.

“This administration’s cynical attempt to circumvent Congress and raid money from the Pentagon to build an expensive and unnecessary border wall is unlawful and will cause permanent harm to border wildlife and communities,” said Kevin Bixby, executive director. “We won’t sit idly by and let it happen.”

The Pentagon recently announced plans to seize $1 billion dollars from military personnel funding and use it to build 57 miles of new border wall, including 46 miles in New Mexico. The motion for a preliminary injunction asks the court to block Trump’s attempt to fund the wall by diverting military funds.

The U.S. House of Representatives and a coalition of 20 states, including New Mexico, are also challenging the national emergency declaration in separate filings. 

It has been reported that contracts for the newest segments in New Mexico and Arizona  could be awarded as soon as this week and construction could begin as early as mid-May.

 

BACKGROUND:

Southern New Mexico is one of the most biologically diverse areas of the United States due to the confluence of different biomes and northern and southern wildlife species. Many species require unfettered movement across the landscape to access water, food and mates needed for survival. With small populations on both sides of the border, Mexican gray wolves need to be able to cross the border to interact and breed with their counterparts on the other side in order to maintain healthy genetic diversity. Jaguars need unblocked movement corridors in order to reclaim their historic habitat in the U.S.  Border walls continue to close in on New Mexico’s wild and remote areas, fragmenting habitat and preventing gene flow.

The preliminary injunction motion is available here.