DHS Issues Waiver to Expedite Border Wall Projects in California

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(Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters)

NEWS RELEASE / DHS — The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a waiver, which will ensure expeditious construction of approximately 15 miles of new border wall system in place of dilapidated and outdated designs in the state of California within U.S. Border Patrol’s San Diego and El Centro Sectors.

The waiver was published in the Federal Register on May 15, 2019, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), will begin construction as early as May 18, 2019.

The projects covered by this waiver are funded by CBP’s Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) Appropriation. It is not a project undertaken pursuant to the National Emergency Declaration, 10 U.S.C § 284, 10 U.S.C. § 2808, nor does it draw from any other source of funding, including appropriations available to the Department of Defense (DoD).

This waiver is pursuant to authority granted to the Secretary of Homeland Security by Congress and covers 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 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.

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