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Federal Judge Denies Kumeyaay Attempt To Stop Border Wall Construction

Kumeyaay protesters stand next to newly-built border wall in the Laguna Mount...

Photo by Max Rivlin-Nadler

Above: Kumeyaay protesters stand next to newly-built border wall in the Laguna Mountains on July 17, 2020.

All summer, members of the Kumeyaay Nation have been protesting 14 miles of border fence construction in the Laguna Mountain wilderness.

They say the federal government hasn’t properly consulted them about burial sites and other parts of their cultural heritage impacted by the new border fence.

Listen to this story by Max Rivlin-Nadler.

U.S. District Judge Anthony Battaglia on Thursday denied their motion for a temporary restraining order, which would have halted the work. He said the Kumeyaay did not provide enough evidence needed to put an immediate stop to the construction.

Speaking outside the courthouse before the hearing, Cynthia Parada, a tribal council member for the La Posta Band of Mission Indians, said the destruction caused by the construction goes well beyond just the wall.

RELATED: Young Kumeyaay Women Lead Protests Against Border Wall

“They’re making new roads, they’re making new areas, that have never been worked in before. That have never had wall before," she said. "Just untouched mountains and now they’re blowing it up without letting us look for what we know is out there.”

Before the hearing, members of the Kumeyaay Nation and their supporters sang and danced, in hopes that their lawsuit would be successful in putting an immediate stop to the wall. They claim to have found human remains near the construction site, and evidence of previous settlements that have been upturned by the construction.

Michelle LaPena, a lawyer for the Kumeyaay, said they would continue to ask the government to consult and advise with the native tribes about the burial site.

The construction of this section of the border wall is already over 50% complete. Protesters have sat in front of construction equipment in protest of the construction, and plan to continue attempting to delay wall construction while the case winds its way through the court system.

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Photo of Max Rivlin-Nadler

Max Rivlin-Nadler
Speak City Heights Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover City Heights, a neighborhood at the intersection of immigration, gentrification, and neighborhood-led health care initiatives. I'm interested in how this unique neighborhood deals with economic inequality during an unprecedented global health crisis.

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