The American Civil Liberties Union has asked a federal court to block additional sections of President Donald Trump’s proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Attorneys late Wednesday asked the court to halt construction of a border wall in Southern California and three sections near Tucson, Ariz. The ACLU, representing the Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition, has a good chance of initially prevailing given the same California court has already suspended the construction of sections in Yuma, Ariz. and El Paso, Texas.
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The ACLU, in a court filing, said it presents “virtually identical“ arguments to the previous case. The construction of the border wall on protected federal land “will irreparably harm Plaintiff Sierra Club’s members’ recreational and aesthetic interests in the borderlands they live in, use, and treasure,” the attorneys wrote.
The Justice Department on Wednesday said it would appeal a federal judge‘s decision to halt a $1 billion transfer of Pentagon counter-drug funding to cover expansions of the Yuma and El Paso sectors and asked the court to let construction proceed in the meantime.
The administration argued that taxpayers will be forced to foot the bill for the stalled projects at rates of $195,000 a day for the El Paso section and $20,000 a day for the Yuma section, since the contractors will have to be reimbursed for costs they incur during the shutdowns.
Congress approved legislation in February for $1.4 billion for roughly 55 miles of new border barriers, but Trump declared a national emergency to unlock an additional $6.7 billion.
Josh Gerstein contributed to this report.