The Department of Homeland Security has issued a waiver to expedite construction of barriers and roads in the vicinity of the planned border wall.
The waiver, which was published in the Federal Register last week, covers an approximately 20-mile segment of the border starting at the Santa Teresa port of entry and extending westward within the Border Patrol’s El Paso sector. The El Paso sector remains a high point of illegal entry: in 2016, 25,000 illegal immigrants were apprehended.
The waiver covers a variety of environmental, natural resource and land management laws. It is in compliance with section 102 of of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, one of the authorities granted to DHS by Congress to carry out its mission, the agency said.
“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 extent possible,” DHS said in a press release.