Judge to decide wall’s progress

Executive Director of Kumeyaay Heritage Preservation Council Tom Holm said a lawsuit filed in August in an effort to stop border wall construction on Kumeyaay lands might yield a decision this week.

The lawsuit, filed by the council and members of the Kumeyaay Nation against members of the Trump administration specifically requested a preliminary injunction to halt ground-disturbing construc­tion activity at a Mexican-American border wall build site.

The federal case hinges on whether Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf can lawfully waive the application of federal laws to the border project.

Federal Judge Paula Xinis ruled in September that Wolf is likely un­lawfully serving as acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, a position he has maintained since 2019 although he was never confirmed by the Senate.

That recent ruling might benefit Kumeyaay tribal leaders who have publicly decried the planned border wall, a pillar of Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign. If completed, the wall would geographically divide Kumeyaay homelands along the modern Mexican-American border so tribes are internationally separated. Kumeyaay representatives claim federal workers have not taken adequate steps to facili­tate tribal monitors and have ignored the impact on the en­vironment, culture, commerce, and quality of life for the im­pacted tribes.

“As a result, over 1.3 million cubic feet of cultural soils are being displaced, along with countless numbers of irre­placeable cultural artifacts and human remains,” Holm said.

La Posta Tribal member Cynthia Parada said Kumey­aay ancient natives left re­mains all over the area near where the border wall is slated for construction.

Archaeological findings gleaned from the site in July that were later confirmed as human remains by an indepen­dent examiner prompted the original request for a tempo­rary injunction.

That directive to cease building would have allowed the Kumeyaay to remove sa­cred objects.

However, the Army Corps of Engineers has continued to proceed with construction under the direction of the De­partment of Homeland Secu­rity.

Kumeyaay representatives maintain Wolf lacks authority.

A ruling on the appeal for a temporary injunction has not yet been released.

Judge to decide wall’s progress

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