U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a joint news conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto (not in the picture) at the White House in Washington D.C., the United States, on Aug. 28, 2017. U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday that he hoped the U.S. could have good relations with Russia, which would be "good for world peace." (Xinhua/Yin Bogu)
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- California's Attorney General Xavier Becerra Wednesday announced a lawsuit against the Trump administration's plan to build a wall along the border between the United States and Mexico.
Becerra filed the suit in San Diego, a southern Californian city on the border between the two countries, focusing on halting the construction of a wall in San Diego and the replacement of barriers there and in Calexico, another border city in Imperial County of California.
According to the 53-page indictment acquired by Xinhua, the defendants are the United States of America, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), former DHS Secretary John Kelly, acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke, the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and acting CBP Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan.
The complaint accuses them of violating the U.S. Constitution, failing to comply with federal and state environmental laws, and resorting to a federal statute that does not authorize the proposed projects.
In the lawsuit filed in the California district court, Becerra outlines the history of the projects -- from John Kelly's move to expedite them before 2009 to the DHS's announcement last week that it intended to carry out a border wall project in Imperial County.
Becerra alleges that Kelly and Duke proposed unlawfully expediting the projects. The argument is that Kelly's authority to waive laws under Section 102 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, which allows the DHS to install additional physical barriers and roads in certain areas to deter illegal crossings, expired in 2008.
Since the DHS did not identify the San Diego or Imperial project areas as "priority areas" before this deadline, using Section 102 is improper and violates several provisions of the constitution, the indictment says.
It also says U.S. President Donald Trump should take responsibility for the illegal constructions.
"As a presidential candidate, and subsequently as president, President Trump has repeatedly stated his intent to build a wall across the entire United States border with Mexico," the document says.
It mentions that on Jan. 25, 2017, Trump issued an executive order directing the DHS to "allocate all sources of federal funds for the planning, designing and construction of a physical wall along the southern border."
"The Trump administration has once again ignored laws it doesn't like in order to resuscitate a campaign talking point to build a wall on our southern border," Becerra said Wednesday in his speech at Border Field State Park of San Diego.
"President Trump has yet to pivot from candidate Trump to leader of a nation built on the rule of law. That's dangerous. When you respect the law, you instill confidence and certainty in your people, so critical for success," the attorney general said.
"That's why California, while only one of 50 states, has become the sixth-largest economy in the world. And that's why, if you plan to do business in California, and that includes the president, then be prepared to follow the law," he said.
Becerra also posted the news of the lawsuit on his official Twitter page, saying, "No one gets to ignore the law. Not even the president of the U.S."
Trump promised during his presidential campaign that his administration would build a wall along the border with Mexico to stop illegal immigration and curb the crime rate in the United States.
However, his opponents say building a wall is xenophobic and racist.
There are already around 650 miles (1,100 km) of fencing along the 2,000 mile- (3,380 km) long border between the two countries, according to a report issued by the DHS. Building a border wall would cost about 21.6 billion U.S. dollars and take three and a half years.
Wednesday's lawsuit is the latest move by Californian politicians who are determined to stand against Trump's policy. Many Californian cities have passed bills to prohibit contractors involved in the border wall project from obtaining any state contracts.
However, Trump pledged to continue his border wall scheme, calling it "absolutely necessary." During a rally in Phoenix, Arizona, in August, he threatened to shut down the U.S. federal government if Congress did not present him with a spending bill for the next fiscal year that included funding for a wall on the southern border.
"The obstructionist Democrats would like us not to do it, but believe me, if we have to close down our government, we're building that wall," Trump said to the crowd.