Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Biden Administration Waives 26 Federal Laws to Allow Border Wall Construction in Texas
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 7 months ago on
October 5, 2023

Share

The Department of Homeland Security posted the announcement on the U.S. Federal Registry with few details outlining the construction in Starr County, Texas, which is part of a busy Border Patrol sector seeing “high illegal entry.” According to government data, about 245,000 illegal entries have been recorded so far this fiscal year in the Rio Grande Valley Sector which contains 21 counties.

“There is presently an acute and immediate need to construct physical barriers and roads in the vicinity of the border of the United States in order to prevent unlawful entries into the United States in the project areas,” Alejandro Mayorkas, the DHS secretary, stated in the notice.

The Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and Endangered Species Act were some of the federal laws waived by DHS to make way for construction that will use funds from a congressional appropriation in 2019 for border wall construction. The waivers avoid time-consuming reviews and lawsuits challenging violations of environmental laws.

Starr County’s hilly ranchlands, sitting between Zapata and McAllen, Texas, are home to about 65,000 residents sparsely populating about 1,200 square miles that form part of the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

Will Add to Existing Barrier System

Although no maps were provided in the announcement, CBP announced the project in June and began gathering public comments in August when it shared a map of the additional construction that can add up to 20 miles to the existing border barrier system in the area. Starr County Judge Eloy Vera said it will start south of the Falcon Dam and go past Salineño, Texas.

“The other concern that we have is that area is highly erosive. There’s a lot of arroyos,” Eloy Vera, the county judge said, pointing out the creeks cutting through the ranchland and leading into the river.

Concern is shared with environmental advocates who say structures will run through public lands, habitats of endangered plants and species like the Ocelot, a spotted wild cat.

“A plan to build a wall through will bulldoze an impermeable barrier straight through the heart of that habitat. It will stop wildlife migrations dead in their tracks. It will destroy a huge amount of wildlife refuge land. And it’s a horrific step backwards for the borderlands,” Laiken Jordahl, a southwest conservation advocate for the Center for Biological Diversity, said Wednesday afternoon.

Trump Built About 450 Miles of Barriers

During the Trump administration, about 450 miles of barriers were built along the southwest border between 2017 and January 2021. Texas Governor Greg Abbott renewed those efforts after the Biden administration halted them at the start of his presidency.

The DHS decision on Wednesday contrasts the Biden administration’s posturing when a proclamation to end the construction on Jan. 20, 2021, stated, “building a massive wall that spans the entire southern border is not a serious policy solution.”

In a statement Wednesday, CBP said the project is consistent with that 2021 proclamation. “Congress appropriated fiscal year 2019 funds for the construction of border barrier in the Rio Grande Valley, and DHS is required to use those funds for their appropriated purpose,” the statement said. “CBP remains committed to protecting the nation’s cultural and natural resources and will implement sound environmental practices as part of the project covered by this waiver.”

The announcement prompted political debate by the Democratic administration facing an increase of migrants entering through the southern border in recent months, including thousands who entered the U.S. through Eagle Pass at the end of September.

“A border wall is a 14th-century solution to a 21st century problem. It will not bolster border security in Starr County,” U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar said in a statement. “I continue to stand against the wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars on an ineffective border wall.”

Political proponents of the border wall said the waivers should be used as a launching pad for a shift in policy.

 

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

DON'T MISS

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

DON'T MISS

Real Estate Experts Talk Fresno’s Economic Future. Are Tough Times Ahead?

DON'T MISS

Unlocking the Secrets to Fresno State’s Superb Baseball Season

DON'T MISS

‘This Is How to Improve Reading Proficiency. We Just Have Execute It’: FUSD Board President

DON'T MISS

Does Dyer Support (or Endorse) Bredefeld for Supervisor?

DON'T MISS

Get a 3D First Look at Merced’s High-Speed Rail Station Design

DON'T MISS

California Court to Decide on Transgender Ballot Measure Wording

DON'T MISS

Rare House Vote Sees Ukraine, Israel Aid Advance as Democrats Join Republicans

DON'T MISS

Full Jury and 6 Alternates Seated in Trump’s Hush Money Trial

UP NEXT

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

UP NEXT

Real Estate Experts Talk Fresno’s Economic Future. Are Tough Times Ahead?

UP NEXT

Unlocking the Secrets to Fresno State’s Superb Baseball Season

UP NEXT

Does Dyer Support (or Endorse) Bredefeld for Supervisor?

UP NEXT

Get a 3D First Look at Merced’s High-Speed Rail Station Design

UP NEXT

California Court to Decide on Transgender Ballot Measure Wording

UP NEXT

Rare House Vote Sees Ukraine, Israel Aid Advance as Democrats Join Republicans

UP NEXT

Full Jury and 6 Alternates Seated in Trump’s Hush Money Trial

UP NEXT

Wired Wednesday: How High Will the Price of Gold & Silver Go?

UP NEXT

How 4/20 Grew From Humble Roots to Marijuana’s High Holiday

Unlocking the Secrets to Fresno State’s Superb Baseball Season

10 hours ago

‘This Is How to Improve Reading Proficiency. We Just Have Execute It’: FUSD Board President

10 hours ago

Does Dyer Support (or Endorse) Bredefeld for Supervisor?

11 hours ago

Get a 3D First Look at Merced’s High-Speed Rail Station Design

12 hours ago

California Court to Decide on Transgender Ballot Measure Wording

12 hours ago

Rare House Vote Sees Ukraine, Israel Aid Advance as Democrats Join Republicans

14 hours ago

Full Jury and 6 Alternates Seated in Trump’s Hush Money Trial

14 hours ago

Wired Wednesday: How High Will the Price of Gold & Silver Go?

Video /

15 hours ago

How 4/20 Grew From Humble Roots to Marijuana’s High Holiday

15 hours ago

Taylor Swift Drops 15 New Songs on Double Album, ‘The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology’

16 hours ago

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

NEW YORK — Police officials said they were reviewing whether to restrict access to a public park outside the courthouse where former Preside...

8 hours ago

8 hours ago

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

9 hours ago

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

9 hours ago

Real Estate Experts Talk Fresno’s Economic Future. Are Tough Times Ahead?

10 hours ago

Unlocking the Secrets to Fresno State’s Superb Baseball Season

10 hours ago

‘This Is How to Improve Reading Proficiency. We Just Have Execute It’: FUSD Board President

11 hours ago

Does Dyer Support (or Endorse) Bredefeld for Supervisor?

12 hours ago

Get a 3D First Look at Merced’s High-Speed Rail Station Design

12 hours ago

California Court to Decide on Transgender Ballot Measure Wording

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend