By Sara Shayanian – UPI
A federal judge criticized by President Donald Trump last year for his Mexican heritage has ruled in favor of the commander in-chief’s long-promised border wall.
U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel ruled Tuesday that the Trump administration has the right to waive environmental laws and other regulations to begin building the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Curiel said he did not have any “serious constitutional doubts” about the government’s use of the waivers, and noted that it’s not the court’s role to evaluate possible motives for building the wall.
“In its review of this case, the court cannot and does not consider whether underlying decisions to construct the border barriers are politically wise or prudent,” Curiel wrote.
The lawsuit, filed by the state of California last year, argued that the Department of Homeland Security had improperly waived the National Environmental Policy Act and other immigration and environmental rules to begin preparing for the wall.
In a 2016 interview with The Wall Street Journal, Trump said the U.S.-born Curiel was unfit to oversee two lawsuits involving Trump University because he has “Mexican heritage” and is predisposed to dislike Trump because of his strict positions on illegal immigration.
Tuesday, Trump acknowledged the judge’s ruling.
“Big legal win today,” he tweeted. “U.S. judge sided with the Trump Administration and rejected the attempt to stop the government from building a great Border Wall on the Southern Border. Now this important project can go forward!”
Curiel’s ruling, however, does not mean actual construction can begin. Congress has yet to approve or provide funding for the wall, which has been estimated to cost as much as $20 billion.