Trump's border wall threat: All or nothing!

Trump announced that California's wall section "will not be built until the whole wall is approved" on the border

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published February 28, 2018 10:55AM (EST)

 (Jason Hoekema/The Brownsville Herald via AP)
(Jason Hoekema/The Brownsville Herald via AP)

President Donald Trump is threatening to not build sections of his proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall in California as a way of compelling the entire border wall to be approved for construction.

Trump's tweet also came one day after U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel — who the president infamously attacked during the 2016 election — sided with the administration over California and environmental advocacy groups in a key legal decision. The plaintiffs in the case argued that the administration didn't have the authority to waive environmental reviews and other procedural hurdles before starting construction on the California border wall, while the administration pointed to a 2005 law that authorized the Department of Homeland Security to waive those obstacles (the plaintiffs claimed that authority has since expired).

In his decision, Judge Curiel wrote, "The court cannot and does not consider whether the underlying decisions to construct border barriers are politically wise or prudent." By contrast, Justice Department spokesman Devin O'Malley lauded Curiel's decision on the grounds that it would allow the administration to begin building its border wall more quickly, which O'Malley described as "important work vital to our nation’s interests."

Even before Curiel's decision, construction had already commenced on a barrier in Calexico, California.

Meanwhile, a Trump tweet from Wednesday morning made the world wonder whether or not the border was even necessary.

Here, Trump was referring to a statistic cited by acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement chief Tom Homan during a Wednesday morning appearance on Fox News. The number of undocumented immigrants who were either detained or turned back at the border dropped to a 45 year low during the early months of Trump's first year in office. That said, those numbers have begun to rise again in recent months, with the result being that by December, total apprehensions and rejections were higher than they'd been in the 2013, 2014 or 2015 fiscal years, according to CNN.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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