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CHC Members Submit Amicus Brief Opposing Trump Border Wall Prototypes; Waiver of Environmental Laws

Jan 8, 2018
Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Twenty-four members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus submitted a legal brief in support of several lawsuits challenging the Trump Administration’s decision to waive more than 30 environmental laws to construct the border wall prototype and replacement projects in San Diego.  Environmental organizations, as well as the state of California, have challenged the Administration’s waiver –which applies in a 15-mile section of the border from the Pacific Ocean east to the Otay Mesa in San Diego county — as actions that are unconstitutional and beyond the powers of the executive branch.  The amicus brief, submitted to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, argues that the administration has abused provisions of the REAL ID Act and represents a violation of the separation of powers principle that is deeply embedded in the Constitution.  As the amicus brief explains:
“Trump Administration views its delegated authority under Section 102, including its ability to waive any and all laws in connection with border construction activities, as essentially limitless, and its actions as correspondingly unreviewable.  This is not only harmful to our constitutional system of checks and balances, but also harmful as a matter of public policy.”
“To imagine that executive branch officials can, with impunity and in perpetuity, flout all laws, rules, and requirements applicable to these lands and their people and resources is to imagine an America that would be unrecognizable to the Founders.  Members of Congress who voted for Section 102 could not possibly have intended to abdicate their legislative responsibilities in this way, and the U.S. Constitution does not allow it.  Accordingly, members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus support Plaintiffs’ efforts, through these lawsuits, to restore the proper balance of power, so deeply rooted in our foundational governance documents, and we urge the Court to grant Plaintiffs’ pending motions for summary judgment.”
The amicus brief was drafted by the Stanford Environmental Law Clinic.  The full brief can be found here.
The twenty-four members who signed the amicus brief are: Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Caucus Chair, Rep. Joaquin Castro, Caucus First Vice-Chair, Rep. Ruben Gallego, Caucus Second Vice-Chair, Rep. Pete Aguilar, Caucus Whip, Rep. Adriano Espaillat, Caucus Freshman Representative, Rep. Darren Soto, Rep. Filemon Vela, Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez, Rep. Juan Vargas, Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, Rep. Raúl Grijalva, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano, Rep. Linda T. Sánchez, Rep. Salud O. Carbajal, Rep. J. Luis Correa, Rep. José E. Serrano, Rep. Tony Cárdenas, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez, Rep. Jimmy Gomez, Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, Rep. Ben Ray Luján, Rep. Albio Sires, and Rep. Ruben J. Kihuen.
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), founded in December 1976, is organized as a Congressional Member organization, governed under the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives. The CHC is dedicated to voicing and advancing, through the legislative process, issues affecting Hispanics in the United States, Puerto Rico and U.S. Territories.
Media Contact:
Carlos Paz Jr.