On Tuesday, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officially signed a waiver that will allow border wall upgrades and new wall prototype projects.
Department of Homeland Security officials reported that the waivers bypass “certain laws, regulations, and other legal requirements to ensure the expeditious construction of barriers and roads in the vicinity of the international border near San Diego.”
The Department of Homeland Security stated that they have authority, based on Section 102(a) of IIRIRA, to waive requirements under laws passed by Congress to enable securing the border with Mexico.
The following is the official IIRIRA law…
“Section 102(a) of IIRIRA provides that the Secretary of Homeland Security shall take such actions as may be necessary to install additional physical barriers and roads in the vicinity of the United States border to deter illegal crossings in areas of high illegal entry into the United States. In section 102(b) of IIRIRA, Congress has called for the installation of additional fencing, barriers, roads, lighting, cameras, and sensors on the southwest border. Finally, in section 102(c) of IIRIRA, Congress granted to the Secretary of Homeland Security the authority to waive all legal requirements that the Secretary, in his sole discretion, determines necessary to ensure the expeditious construction of the barriers and roads authorized by section 102 of IIRIRA.”
Department of Homeland Security officials went on to state, “DHS has been coordinating and consulting — and intends to continue doing so — with other federal and state resource agencies to ensure impacts to the environment, wildlife, and cultural and historical artifacts are analyzed and minimized, to the extent possible.”
Reuters is reporting that Environmental impact studies generally are required under federal law for building on public lands. While the waiver will eliminate a study, the department said it will remain mindful of cultural and environmental impacts. According to a memo published by the Congressional Research Service in January and seen by Reuters, a 2005 law gives Homeland Security broad authority to waive any law that could impede expeditious construction of barriers and roads.
Wall construction will now proceed in the San Diego sector. Department of Homeland Security officials wrote, “In the fiscal year 2016 alone, the United States Border Patrol apprehended more than 31,000 illegal aliens and seized 9,167 pounds of marijuana and 1,317 pounds of cocaine in the San Diego Sector.”
New prototype projects are to be constructed immediately as well. Officials reported that prototype projects consist of “drilling and taking soil samples to determine what particular type of wall would be compatible with specific geographic regions.”
President Trump has asked for $1.6 billion to fund these projects.
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