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Department of Homeland Security Issues Waiver to Expedite Border Wall Projects

May 15, 2019 12:12PM ● By Press Release
DHS waivers authorize replacement of more than 90 miles of dilapidated border wall...

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued multiple waivers, which will ensure expeditious construction of new bollard wall within the U.S. Border Patrol’s Tucson, El Centro, San Diego, and El Centro Sectors in Arizona and California. The projects covered by the waivers include up to approximately 90 miles of new bollard wall in place of dilapidated and outdated designs, in addition to road construction and improvement and lighting installation. The waivers were published in the Federal Register on May 15, 2019.

These waivers are pursuant to authority granted to the Secretary of Homeland Security by Congress and cover a variety of environmental, natural resource and land management laws. Congress provided the Secretary of Homeland Security with a number of authorities necessary to carry out DHS’s border security mission. 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 mandated 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 the Secretary’s sole discretion, determines necessary to ensure the expeditious construction of the barriers and roads authorized by section 102 of IIRIRA.

The geographic scope of the Tucson waiver covers the areas defined below.  These projects will total approximately 63 miles of bollard wall within these areas:

  1. Starting approximately one-half (.5) mile west of Border Monument 178 and extending east to Border Monument 162;
  2. Starting at Border Monument 100 and extending east for approximately one (1) mile;
  3. Starting at Border Monument 98 and extending east to Border Monument 97; and
  4. Starting approximately one-half (.5) mile west of Border Monument 83 and extending east to Border Monument 74.

The geographic scope of the El Centro waiver covers the areas defined below.  These projects will total approximately 15 miles of bollard wall within these areas:

  1. Starting at Border Monument 229 and extending east to approximately one and one-half miles (1.5) west of Border Monument 223.

The geographic scope of this waiver covers the two areas defined below. These projects will total approximately 15 miles of new border wall system located within these areas (approximately 4 miles in the San Diego Sector and approximately 11 miles in the El Centro sector).

  1. Within the San Diego Sector, starting approximately one mile west of Border Monument 245 and extending east to approximately one mile east of Border Monument 243;
  2. Within the El Centro Sector, starting approximately one and one-half (1.5) miles west of Border Monument 223 and extending east approximately eight miles; and
  3. Within the El Centro Sector, starting at Border Monument 221 and extending east to Border Monument 219.
While the waiver eliminates DHS’ obligation to comply with various laws with respect to covered projects, DHS remains committed to environmental stewardship. DHS has been coordinating and consulting, and intends to continue doing so, with other federal and state resource agencies to ensure that impacts to the environment, wildlife, and cultural and historic artifacts are analyzed and minimized, to the greatest extent possible.

These Sectors are areas of high illegal entry and are experiencing large numbers of individuals and narcotics being smuggled into the country illegally. The construction of border infrastructure within these project areas will support DHS’s ability to impede and deny illegal border crossings and the drug and human smuggling activities of transnational criminal organizations.

The Department of Homeland Security continues to implement President Trump’s Executive Order 13767 - also known as Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements – and continues to take steps to immediately plan, design and construct a physical wall along the southern border, using appropriate materials and technology to most effectively achieve complete operational control of the southern border.

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