DHS Issues Environmental Waiver to Expedite New Border Wall System in Texas

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(Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters)

WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a waiver, which will ensure expeditious construction of approximately 15 miles of new border wall system, consisting of five non-contiguous segments in locations where no barriers currently exist, within the U.S. Border Patrol’s (USBP) Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Sector in Starr County, Texas.

The waiver was published in the Federal Register on April 15, 2020. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2020, pending availability of real estate. The contract for this project was awarded on March 13, 2020.

RGV is the busiest Sector in the nation and, for the FY to date, accounts for approximately 25% of the illegal alien apprehensions and ranks first in seized cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana along the southwest border. The majority of its activity is occurring in areas where RGV has limited infrastructure, access and mobility, and technology. This project will improve RGV Sector’s ability to impede and deny illegal border crossings and the drug and human smuggling activities of transnational criminal organizations.

A CBP spokesperson said, “DHS remains committed to protection of the nation’s important natural and cultural resources. DHS has been, and will continue coordinating and consulting with other federal, state, and local resource agencies and other interested stakeholders to ensure that potential impacts to the environment, wildlife, and cultural and historic resources are analyzed and minimized, to the greatest extent possible.”

CBP continues to implement President Trump’s Executive Order 13767 – also known as Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements – taking steps to expeditiously plan, design, and construct a physical wall using appropriate materials and technology to most effectively achieve operational control of the southern border.

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