The U.S. District Court judge once called a “hater” by President Trump ruled Tuesday that the Department of Homeland Security was able to waive certain environmental protections in its plans to construct a new barrier at the border.
On the campaign trail, Trump said the jurist in legal action against Trump University, Judge Gonzalo Curiel, was “very strongly pro-Mexican, which is all fine. But I say he’s got bias. I want to build a wall.” Trump said “this judge … of Mexican heritage” should recuse himself from the Trump U. case.
Curiel never responded to Trump, but on page 2 of his new ruling the judge referred to “fellow Indiana native Chief Justice Roberts.”
“The Court is aware that the subject of these lawsuits, border barriers, is currently the subject of heated political debate in and between the United States and the Republic of Mexico as to the need, efficacy and the source of funding for such barriers. In its review of this case, the Court cannot and does not consider whether underlying decisions to construct the border barriers are politically wise or prudent,” said Curiel’s ruling.
In a statement, DHS noted that “border walls have proven to be extremely effective in preventing the flow of drugs and illegal aliens across our borders.”
“Walls have worked in Yuma, Arizona and San Diego, California, where both areas have seen a 95 percent drop in attempted illegal border crossings,” the agency’s press office said. “Simply put – walls work. The Department of Homeland Security looks forward to building the wall where our frontline operators say it is needed and in accordance with all applicable laws.”
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement that he remains “unwavering” in the belief that the Trump administration “is ignoring laws it doesn’t like in order to resuscitate a campaign talking point of building a wall on our southern border.”
“We will evaluate all of our options and are prepared to do what is necessary to protect our people, our values, and our economy from federal overreach,” Becerra said. “A medieval wall along the U.S.-Mexico border simply does not belong in the 21st century.”