The U.S. government Thursday filed a lawsuit against a pro border wall group, asking a court to stop them from building a wall near the U.S.-Mexico border in Mission.
But before the day’s end, a court had removed them from a federal lawsuit.
On behalf of the U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission, the federal government filed a lawsuit against We Build the Wall, and three other entities, including Fisher Industries, Fisher Sand and Gravel Co., and Neuhaus and Sons LLC, based in Weslaco.
According to the lawsuit, the government alleges that We Build the Wall, a nonprofit advocacy group out of Florida, contracted Fisher Industries, a subsidiary of Fisher Sand and Gravel Co. to build a bollard structure in a floodplain near Bentsen and Anzalduas Parks, but have yet to meet the requirements of an international treaty to do so.
In addition to the lawsuit, the government filed a motion for a temporary restraining order to have the court enjoin WBTW and Fisher Industries from continuing the project.
But after a hearing Thursday afternoon, U.S. District Judge Randy Crane removed WBTW from the lawsuit after determining the group had a limited role in the actual project and granted the government’s motion for an injunction barring any future work, pending a hearing set for Dec. 12, records show.
IBWC claims on Nov. 13, Fisher Industries submitted to IBWC two documents containing information regarding hydraulic impact tied to the aforementioned proposed wall construction.
IBWC officials, however, claim in the suit that the submitted documents “contained very little substance and failed to show the extent of any hydraulic testing that may have been conducted by WBTW or Fisher Industries.”
In short, the documents WBTW submitted provided little details about the proposed work on the banks of the Rio Grande, the lawsuit read in part.
Two days later, the government claims representatives with IBWC emailed Fisher Industries and WBTW through its own general counsel, who requested of WBTW and Fisher Industries to submit a completed hydraulic analysis and packet of additional materials for analysis related to a 1970 treaty — stop construction of the bollard structure until IBWC could analyze the model, confer with its Mexican counterparts, and issue a letter related to potential obstruction or deflection issues tied to any wall construction, and lastly, to stop using IBWC levees for vehicle traffic, the court record read.
The lawsuit goes on to allege that despite this email sent from legal counsel, WBTW, and Fisher Industries, that same day, began clearcutting a swath beginning at the bank of the Rio Grande River and clearing inland approximately 120 feet wide, the record shows.
“To date, WBTW has completely cleared almost the entirety of the riverbank and continues to clear cut the remaining land on which the Defendants intend to construct a bollard structure, wall or similar structure,” the court documents state.
On Nov. 20, WBTW announced during a local TV news interview that it would not “do any construction activity,” until IBWC completed its hydraulic analysis.
That same day, the government claims WBTW posted tweets on its Twitter feed reflecting that Fisher Industries and WBTW were altering the character of the bank of the Rio Grande.
Despite the aforementioned announcement by WBTW, and Fisher Industries, and another similar statement made the following day on Nov. 21; WBTW went back on those statements, and just a few days ago on Dec. 3 posted on its website a video and message which stated in part: “This wall is going up this week no matter what, we will not stop until it’s finished.”
The government claims that as recently as Dec. 4, a day before the filing of this lawsuit, that WBTW, Fisher Industries, continue to work on the Neuhaus property, specifically “trenching and moving metal rebar pieces into location along the trench.”
The government requests the court to grant an injunction against WBTW to enforce the aforementioned 1970 treaty, which relates to construction that would cause deflection and obstruction for either side of the levee, in order to avoid potentially violating the treaty with Mexico.
“The construction of the bollard structure, wall or similar structure by WBTW and Fisher Industries along the bank and in the floodplain of the Rio Grande River on the Neuhaus Property without hydraulic studies completed by WBTW and Fisher Industries and subsequent analysis by the USIBWC for deflection and obstruction of water may cause a violation of the 1970 Treaty between the United States and Mexico,” the record stated.
The government argues, if the court allows WBTW to continue to build without conducting the proper studies as required by the treaty; they could trigger an obligation under the treaty to remove or modify the structure.
They request the court enjoin WBTW from further construction until the proper requirements are met, and until IBWC completes its own analysis and other requirements under the treaty.
As of Dec. 5, WBTW had a message on its website’s donations page touting completion of “Project 2” by Christmas 2019.
The court’s injunction bars the aforementioned defendants, including Fisher Industries, from “constructing a bollard structure, wall or similar structure along the bank and within the floodplain of the Rio Grande River until such time they adhere to aforementioned treaty.”
“Defendants’ are hereby immediately restrained and enjoined from constructing a bollard structure, wall or similar structure, pouring concrete or any other permanent structure within the floodplain of the Rio Grande River on land; shaving or cutting of the bank of the Rio Grande River along portion described in order issued by the Court,” the court notes state.
The Court additionally outlined that the Defendants were allowed to “permitted to clear and grub, trench, place rebar and conduit in the trench and seed and plant on the subject property.”
LINK TO THE LAWSUIT: