California attorney general says he’ll appeal ruling allowing Trump border wall projects to proceed

Prototype border wall sections on San Diego's Otay Mesa.
(John Gibbins / San Diego Union-Tribune)
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A ruling by a San Diego federal judge allowing construction of President Trump’s border wall to go ahead will be appealed by two entities opposed to the wall, including California’s attorney general.

Both the Center for Biological Diversity and Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra filed formal notices of appeal Monday seeking to reverse a decision in February by U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel. The judge ruled that the Trump administration did not abuse its discretion in waiving environmental laws in its rush to begin border wall projects along the Southwest border.

The center had said after the ruling it would appeal, and Becerra also hinted the state would seek appellate court review at the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.


The notices declare an intent to appeal. They do not outline arguments to be made on appeal or why each group believes that Curiel got it wrong.

In a prepared statement Becerra said: “When we said that a medieval wall along the U.S.-Mexico border does not belong in the 21st century, we meant it. There are environmental and public health laws in place, and we continue to believe that the Trump Administration is violating those laws. We will not stand idly by. We are committed to protecting our people, our values and our economy from federal overreach.”

The lawsuits challenged a law that allowed the federal government not to comply with environmental and other laws and regulations when building border security projects. They argued the law was outdated and Congress never intended for it to be an open-ended waiver for all border projects, and contended it violated constitutional provisions of separation of powers and states’ rights.

In his decision Curiel said both that the law was constitutional and it gave the Department of Homeland Security wide latitude over border security.

Justice Department spokesman Devin O’Malley said in response to the Curiel ruling that the administration was pleased DHS “can continue this important work vital to our nation’s interest.”

“Border security is paramount to stemming the flow of illegal immigration that contributes to rising violent crime and to the drug crisis, and undermines national security,” O’Malley said.


Moran writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.