Judge Richard Leon said the constitutional arguments made by the North American Butterfly Association didn't hold up. The association's flagship facility is a 100-acre wildlife center -- the National Butterfly Center -- just north of the US border in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.
"Unfortunately for the Plaintiff, The Fourth Amendment offers little refuge for unenclosed land near one of the country's external borders," wrote the judge. He also said it was "preemptive" to claim that the government deprived the group of property.
The judge also concluded that the Department of Homeland Security secretary has the authority to issue a waiver to a number of environmental laws for construction in the area, dismissing those claims brought by the association. The waiver "extinguishes" the association's claims, Leon wrote.
The executive director of the National Butterfly Center, Marianna Trevino Wright, told CNN that this isn't the end.
"We are going to appeal or refile, absolutely," she said.
The lawsuit was first brought in 2017 after the government was "on our property cutting down our trees," as well moving habitat and widening a road, Wright says.
The agency previously declined to comment due to pending litigation.