The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Meg Townsend,  

Lawsuit Seeks Federal Briefing Documents on Trump's Border Wall

Secretive Administration Continues Hiding Potential Environmental Impacts


The Center for Biological Diversity sued the Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency today for failing to provide briefing materials prepared for Trump's transition team that discuss construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Center requested the materials in January under the Freedom of Information Act. The documents may contain discussion of the feasibility, effectiveness or impacts of building Trump's wall. But so far the agencies have failed to provide the records.

"The Trump administration is refusing to give the American people crucial public documents about the environmental risks of this massive project," said Meg Townsend, the Center's open government attorney. "If this wall is built, it'll be a disaster for people and wildlife on both sides of the border. The public has a right to know what federal agencies are saying about the dangers of Trump's wall."

The U.S.-Mexico borderlands contain numerous protected federal areas. The border provides habitat for many threatened and endangered species and includes major rivers such as the San Pedro and Rio Grande.

Trump repeatedly boasted about building a "great wall" during his presidential campaign. Just before the inauguration, his transition team reportedly met with the Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies to discuss plans to construct that wall. The agencies' failure to provide records concerning this meeting or indicate when they might do so violates deadlines established under the Freedom of Information Act, prompting today's lawsuit.

"It seems like the sun never shines on the highly secretive Trump administration," Townsend added. "These agencies are illegally concealing information that may be critical to helping Americans understand the effects of this monstrous project."

Records responsive to the Center's border wall Presidential Transition Team requests will be made available to the public and the media when available.

Download today's lawsuit here.
Download one of the original requests here.

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.

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