Homeland Security Issues Key Waiver Allowing Border Wall Construction To Begin

President Trump is one step closer to fulfilling one of his core campaign promises; building a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. On Tuesday the Department of Homeland Security announced it has issued a waiver “to waive certain laws, regulations and other legal requirements to ensure the expeditious construction near Calexico, California” reports KVOA.

Per KVOA:

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.

The Department has exercised the waiver authority in Section 102 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA), as amended, on five previous occasions from 2005 to 2008, as well as exercising this waiver authority earlier this year for a project in the San Diego area, which was announced in August.

This current waiver covers certain border infrastructure projects in the United States Border Patrol’s El Centro Sector, a critical sector for border security. In fiscal year 2016 alone, the United States Border Patrol apprehended more than 19,400 undocumented immigrants and seized approximately 2,899 pounds of marijuana and approximately 126 pounds of cocaine in the El Centro Sector.

The El Centro Sector remains an area of high illegal entry, and replacing the existing fencing, which was built in the 1990s and no longer meets the Border Patrol’s operational needs, is a high priority.

As TGP reported last week, CBP announced it awarded four companies “other materials” contracts for border wall prototypes.

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According to CBP:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced today contract awards for “other materials” prototypes of the border wall. The following companies were selected to construct alternate materials border wall prototypes:

Caddell Construction Co., (DE), LLC, Montgomery, Alabama

KWR Construction, Inc. – Sierra Vista, Arizona

ELTA North America Inc. – Annapolis Junction, Maryland

W. G. Yates & Sons Construction Company, Philadelphia, Mississippi

CBP officials will meet with the vendors and determine construction timeline, however we expect to construct the prototypes in the fall.

Prototypes constructed from alternate materials will serve two important ends. First, given their robust physical characteristics-for example, they will be between 18 and 30 feet high-the “other materials” border wall prototypes are designed to deter illegal crossings in the area in which they are constructed. Second, they will provide an innovative perspective in the application of new materials which will allow CBP to evaluate the potential for new wall and barrier designs to complement the current wall and barrier used along the Southwest border.

Back in June, TGP reported new photos revealed President Trump is making good on his number one campaign promise — building a ‘big, beautiful’ border wall between the united States and Mexico. Left leaning Texas Observer published photos of contractors preparing the construction of the wall. You’ll read the site was more concerned about the wildlife of Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge in South Texas than the President keeping his word on curbing illegal immigration

Texas Observer reports:

For at least six months, private contractors and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials have been quietly preparing to build the first piece of President Trump’s border wall through the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge in South Texas. The federally owned 2,088-acre refuge, often called the “crown jewel of the national wildlife refuge system,” could see construction begin as early as January 2018, according to a federal official who has been involved in the planning but asked to remain anonymous.

“This should be public information,” the official told the Observer. “There shouldn’t be government officials meeting in secret just so they don’t have to deal with the backlash. The public has the right to know about these plans.”

CBP plans to construct an 18-foot levee wall that would stretch for almost three miles through the wildlife refuge, according to the official. The structure would consist of a concrete base, which would serve as a levee, and be topped with a fence made of steel bollards, similar to a levee wall built almost a decade ago near Hidalgo, Texas. A second federal official confirmed these details to the Observer.

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