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National Butterfly Center goes to court to get restraining order to stop construction of border wall


The center argues that having the wall cut through the middle of its property violates its constitutional rights

Aditya Irawan/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The National Butterfly Center has gone to court to try to get a restraining order to stop the proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border from running across its land.

That National Butterfly Center sits on 100 acres in Mission, Texas. The border wall would cut across the property, blocking up to 70 percent of its land between the wall and the Rio Grande.

The center first sued the government in December 2017, but that case has not yet been decided. The North American Butterfly Association has now asked the court for a restraining order to prevent any machinery used to build the wall from being moved onto the center's property, until there is a ruling on the original lawsuit.

According to the text from the request for a restraining order:

During the past week, Defendants have transported heavy machinery to be used in the construction of the wall onto tracts adjoining the Butterfly Center, driven their trucks and heavy machinery back and forth across the Butterfly Center as if they own it, and blocked access to more than two-thirds of the Butterfly Center with law enforcement vehicles and by cutting the Butterfly Center's lock on one of its gates and replacing it with one of their own.

It also says that the U.S. government has "hidden cameras and sensors" on the center's property and "engaged in harassment of Butterfly Center staff and visitors from the summer of 2017 to the present day."

The center argued that "[u]nless the defendants are stopped" the court would "be without power" to rule in favor of the center in the original suit.

The request argues that the building of the wall on center property is a violation of NABA's Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights, as well as the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

On Monday, a federal court ruled that the Trump administration has broad authority to waive environmental laws in the name of border security. The Department of Homeland Security has already said it will waive regulations to build along the Rio Grande.

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