9th Circuit Sides With Trump On Environmental Waivers For Border Wall

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled for the Trump administration Monday in a case challenging its use of waivers to bypass environmental regulations in constructing parts of the border wall.

The state of California and several environmental groups sued President Donald Trump and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in September 2017 to stop construction of a border wall prototype and ongoing repairs to 14 miles of an existing barrier in San Diego.

“Under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA), the Secretary of the DHS has long had the authority ‘to install additional physical barriers and roads … in the vicinity of the United States border,’” the 9th Circuit’s opinion states, quoting the IIRIRA.

The IIRIRA grants the secretary of the DHS “the authority to waive all legal requirements” as is “‘necessary to ensure expeditious construction’ of those barriers and roads,” according to the 9th Circuit.

The 9th Circuit’s three-judge panel ruled 2-1 in favor of the federal government. The dissenting judge, Consuelo Callahan, wrote she supported the Trump administration’s argument, but thought the court lacked jurisdiction to review California’s appeal.

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