California AG suing Trump administration over border wall

SAN DIEGO -- California's attorney general sued the Trump administration Wednesday over its plan to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, 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 made in a lawsuit brought last week by advocacy groups.

Both lawsuits aim to stop design, planning and construction on the wall.

The cases are particularly focused on halting the construction of wall prototypes in San Diego and the replacement of barriers there and in Calexico, California.

Becerra plans to discuss the suit Wednesday near the border in San Diego, not far from the site where U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions discussed drug seizures earlier in the day.

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 served as a centerpiece of President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign.

Becerra's legal action is the latest in a series of suits he has filed against the administration. He recently sued over Trump's decision to halt a program in six months that protects young immigrants from deportation. He also has battled with the federal 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.

Becerra says that authority expired in 2008.

Laws waived include the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.
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