ACLU of Mass.: Does wall contract really exist?
Lawsuit seeks documents related to Trump tweet
ON THE DAY when President Donald Trump declared a domestic national emergency related to the border, two groups have filed a lawsuit related to his wall claims.
The ACLU of Massachusetts and attorneys at Todd & Weld LLP filed a complaint in US District Court in Boston against the Department of Homeland Security and US Customs and Border Protection claiming they have not been provided documents related to Trump’s wall policy initiatives.
The legal dispute centers on a Trump tweet in December, shortly after the partial government shutdown began, in which the president said he “just gave out a 115-mile-long contract for another large section of the Wall in Texas.”
The initial records request from the ACLU of Massachusetts on December 28, 2018, sought details about purchase orders, the terms of the contract, invoices, requests for proposals, and any studies on cost or environmental impact that were involved in Trump’s decision.
Attorneys at the ACLU of Massachusetts say they have not received any requested documents from either agency.
The ACLU’s attorneys also asked the US Army Corps of Engineers for the contract referenced by Trump, since the agency is responsible for the federal construction contracts in areas along the US-Mexico border region.
Matthew Segal, the legal director for the ACLU of Massachusetts, said the Army Corps replied quickly saying they have no such records, “which suggests this tweet is a lie. We haven’t seen a similar response from DHS to just respond to our records request.”
The Army Corps of Engineers referred all questions to the Department of Justice, which did not comment.
Segal said Trump’s potentially false claim raises all sorts of legal issues. “Does this tweet reflect a willingness to bypass Congress? It should shed light on other claims Trump is using for emergency powers,” Segal said.The ACLU of Massachusetts said it is seeking documentation about the president’s contract reference, spelling out the cost of the project and any impacts to the communities and environment along the border. The organization is also seeking to confirm the contract actually exists.
On Thursday, Trump failed to secure sufficient funds from Congress to construct the proposed border wall. On Friday, he signed emergency order paperwork to secure federal funds to build the southern wall.