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California Sues Trump Administration To Prevent Border Wall

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announces a lawsuit against President Donald Trump's border wall at Border Field State Park, Sept. 20, 2017.
Jean Guerrero
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announces a lawsuit against President Donald Trump's border wall at Border Field State Park, Sept. 20, 2017.
California Attorney General Visits San Diego To Announce Border Wall Lawsuit
California Attorney General To Visit San Diego To Announce Border Wall Lawsuit GUEST: Jean Guerrero, fronteras reporter, KPBS

I am Maureen Cavanaugh and it is Wednesday, September 20 . Our top story on midday addition, California Attorney General hobby air Besera is suing the Trump administration over the proposed border wall and this was announced at a press conference at Porterfield State Park here in San Diego. We respect immigration policy and we understand it is a federal matter, but if it happens in our backyard we demand that it be carried out in the right way following the rule of law. The lawsuit comes a day after the San Diego city Council passed a resolution opposing the world. Joining us now from Porterfield State Park is K PBS reporter Jean Guerrero, welcome. Great to be here. What did the Attorney General have to say about the basis of this lawsuit ? What are the legal arguments being made? The administration invoked environmental waivers earlier this year in relation to the border wall saying they can go ahead and build the wall without taking into account environmental regulations and doing environmental impact analyses and what the Attorney General is saying is that it's not okay and the waivers invoked by the administration no longer apply . They expired in 2008 and that if the Trump administration wants to go ahead with building the wall that they are going to have to do the environmental impact statements, the environmental analyses to make sure that the wall does not cause unnecessary harm to the environment particularly in California where we have merely - many environmental resources. Do we know if other states or groups are joining in the lawsuit? We do not know if other states are joining this particular lawsuit yet but what we do know is other environmental lawsuits have been filed over the past few weeks. The Center for biological diversity filed one a month or two ago alleging the same things which is the environmental waivers being invoked, the administration no longer has the authority to invoke those waivers. And several other environmental groups have come out and spoken out against the border wall. But we do not currently know if other states will join the lawsuit. What officials besides the Attorney General were at today's event ? The California coastal commission was they are, we were talking of the environmental habitat on the coast needing to say protected, his voice was added to the lawsuit, LLerena Gonzalez was here talking about how the tunnels we are seeing to bypass the border wall are much more of a concern for national security than people coming overland and smuggling drugs and people in the United States. David Alvarez from the city Council came and talked about the resolution that was approved earlier this week against the border wall and talked about how we are already seeing environmental impacts from the existing fence. Lawsuits were filed over the existing border fence when that was being built, how successful do you think this lawsuit might be in actually stopping the ball from - the wall from being built? I asked that question and they see this is an entirely separate lawsuit and they believe that the fence that was put into place over the course of the 90s and early 2000 and late 2000's as well, serve the purpose and Javier Besera was telling me that it did in fact help stop the smuggling of drugs in humans across the border, and that now they believe the wall currently being pushed forward does not serve those purposes because they say we already have a fence that stops the smuggling and the presidents wall, according to them, serves what they call a symbolic purpose of dividing the two countries. They were talking about a lot of the natural disasters we were seeing, the earthquake in Mexico City, the hurricanes, and he was talking specifically about the imports of being good neighbors. Meanwhile the Sierra Club is suing to stop the confession of the wall prototypes expected to be built near the Otay Mesa border crossing and what is the latest on those prototypes and do we know when construction may begin? Yes we went out there a few weeks ago. And there is already some construction happening, not on the prototypes themselves, the preparation happening in the area over in Otay Mesa, basically where the existing secondary fence does and in Otay Mesa, that is where the prototypes will be built. There is already fencing being built to protect the construction companies when they come and build the prototypes. The latest I have heard from border patrol is they plan to start building the prototypes at the end of October. What is interesting is that today there was talk of potentially filing an injunction as part of this lawsuit that Attorney General Javier Besera has filed that will stop the prototypes from going into effect but they have no specific plan yet. They have not decided whether they will go for the injunction but it is a possibility that we will see further delays on both the prototype construction and any possible further construction on the wall. I have been speaking with K PBS reporter Jean Guerrero at Porterfield State Park, thank you.

California's attorney general sued the Trump administration Wednesday over its plan to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, arguing it's overstepping its authority by waiving environmental reviews and other laws.

The suit filed by Attorney General Xavier Becerra , a Democrat, makes arguments similar to those in a lawsuit brought last week by advocacy groups.

Both lawsuits aim to stop design, planning and construction on the wall. The cases are focused on halting the construction of wall prototypes in San Diego and the replacement of barriers there and in Calexico, California.

"The Trump administration has once again ignored laws it doesn't like in order to resuscitate a campaign talking point to build a wall on our southern border," Becerra said at a press conference near the border in San Diego. "President Trump has yet to pivot from candidate Trump to leader of a nation built on the rule of law."

Becerra's remarks came shortly after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions appeared near the border to discuss drug seizures. Asked about the lawsuits, Sessions said the U.S. government has a responsibility to secure the border.

"We would expect to be fully successful in moving forward with our border wall as Congress gives us the money to do so," Sessions said.

Promises to construct a "big, beautiful" border wall were a centerpiece of Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

RELATED: San Diego City Council Passes Resolution In Opposition To Trump’s Border Wall

Becerra's legal action is the latest in a series of lawsuits against the administration. He recently sued over Trump's decision to halt a program that protects young immigrants from deportation. He also has battled with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over regulations.

The federal government recently waived environmental reviews on a 15-mile stretch of border in San Diego. Eight contracts have been awarded and construction of wall prototypes is expected to begin this fall.

The administration also waived environmental reviews involving a 3-mile stretch of border in Calexico. It granted the waivers under a 2005 law aimed at speeding construction of barriers along the border.

The law allows the government to waive laws including the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. Becerra says that authority expired in 2008.