Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, January 22, 2018

Contact:  Brian Segee, (805) 750-8852,

Trump Administration Waives Environmental Laws for New Mexico Border Wall

TUCSON, Ariz.— The Trump administration today waived more than 30 environmental laws to speed construction of 20 miles of border wall in eastern New Mexico, the third time the “REAL ID” waiver has been used by the Trump administration.

The waiver is meant to allow construction of the New Mexico border wall section without having to comply with laws that protect clean air, clean water, public lands or endangered wildlife.

“The Trump administration is stopping at nothing to ram through this destructive border wall,” said Brian Segee, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Trump’s divisive border wall is a humanitarian and environmental disaster, and it won’t do anything to stop illegal drug or human smuggling.”

Today’s action will allow the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to waive more than 30 environmental and other laws to convert 20 miles of vehicle barriers into bollard walls along the border west of El Paso, Texas, at the Santa Teresa Land Port of Entry. The Center is considering whether to challenge the waiver in court.

Last year the Center sued to challenge the Trump administration’s use of the waiver to build replacement walls south of San Diego. The lawsuit states that waiver authority expired years ago, it’s an unconstitutional delegation of power to the Department of Homeland Security, and the wall violates the Endangered Species Act.

A hearing on the case is scheduled Feb. 9 in U.S. District Court in San Diego. Similar lawsuits, filed by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and other conservation groups, have been consolidated into one case before U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel.

Beyond jeopardizing wildlife, endangered species and public lands, the U.S.-Mexico border wall is part of a larger strategy of ongoing border militarization that damages human rights, civil liberties, native lands, local businesses and international relations. The border wall impedes the natural migrations of people and wildlife that are essential to healthy diversity.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

More press releases