Left-wing environmentalists and the state of California, led by Attorney General Xavier Becerra, will head to federal court Friday after filing a lawsuit against the federal government in an effort to block construction of President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall.
U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, the same Obama-appointed judge President Trump accused of bias because of his Mexican heritage during the 2016 presidential campaign, will hear the arguments in San Diego.
The plaintiffs argue that the Trump administration is violating the U.S. Constitution and California’s state laws because it is not “conducting any environmental review or complying with any environmental protection laws.”
The federal government, citing a 1996 immigration law, says it has the authority to waive environmental laws.
The idea of a physical barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border has always been a bipartisan idea. San Diego built a border fence in 1990. President Bill Clinton signed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act in 1996, which added an additional 14 miles to the San Diego Border Fence. In 2006, the Senate approved of the Secure Fence Act by an 80-19 vote, which included Senate Democrats such as Barack Obama, Joe Biden, John Kerry, and Chuck Schumer.
When Curiel was the judge of the Trump University case during the 2016 presidential election, Trump told the Wall Street Journal that Curiel had “an absolute conflict of interest” because of his “Mexican heritage.”
Curiel signed off on a $25 million settlement for the Trump University case in March 2017.
Curiel also presided over a DACA case in which Juan Manuel Montes, the first DREAMer who claimed to be wrongly deported under the Trump Administration. Curiel issued an order dismissing the case, and Montes later dropped the case.
“He’s a Mexican. We’re building a wall between here and Mexico,” Trump told CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Now, Judge Curiel will get to make a decision on the wall.