Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom of California has indicated that his state is prepared to use the precedent of environmental laws to challenge any attempt by President-elect Donald Trump to construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
On Jan. 9, Newsom suggested that the state of California could file a lawsuit against a proposed border wall using the California Environmental Quality Act or the National Environmental Policy Act, laws that have previously been successful in challenging building projects, The Huffington Post reports.
"There's indigenous lands and autonomies as it relates to governance on those lands," Newsom said during an interview with the This Golden State podcast. "There are all kinds of obstructions as it relates to just getting zoning approval and getting building permits. All those things could be made very, very challenging for the administration."
Newsom added that he was highly skeptical that Trump's proposed border wall was even feasible, whether California challenges it or not.
"It's logistically impossible," Newsom continued. "It's a laughable proposal that somehow Mexico's going to pay for it. It's just not going to happen."
The lieutenant governor concluded that California was prepared to be combative against a Trump administration. He expressed little concern by the prospect of Trump labeling California a sanctuary state and halting its federal funding.
"The United States of America needs California more, with all due respect, than California needs it from an economic perspective," Newsom said.
Throughout the presidential election, Trump vowed to construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and to compel the Mexican government to pay for it. On Jan. 5, the Trump transition team signaled to GOP lawmakers that they would instead want Congress to use taxpayer dollars to fund the wall through a spending bill slated for Apr. 28, CNN reports.
Republican lawmakers have asserted that the federal government will initially foot the bill on the border wall but that Mexico can reimburse American taxpayers later.
"When you understand that Mexico's economy is dependent upon U.S. consumers … I don't think it's that difficult for Donald Trump to convince Mexico that it's in their best interest to reimburse us for building the wall," said Republican Rep. Chris Collins of New York.
On Jan. 10, Mexican foreign relations secretary Luis Videgaray announced that his country would be willing to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with the incoming Trump administration but that Mexico would never pay for the proposed border wall, USA Today reported.