The Biden administration has decided to waive 26 laws to facilitate the construction of additional border barriers in the Rio Grande Valley due to concerns over “high illegal entry.”
- Reason for Waiver: Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas cites the need for swift construction of barriers and roads in Starr County, Texas, to counter illegal entries.
- Border Encounters: The Rio Grande Valley sector reported nearly 300,000 encounters from last October to August.
- Funding: The construction will be financed through a 2019 appropriations bill designated for a “border barrier” in the Rio Grande Valley.
According to a notice in the US Federal Registry, Secretary Mayorkas stated that the Department of Homeland Security found it essential to bypass certain laws and regulations to expedite the construction of barriers and roads in Starr County, Texas, which borders Mexico. This decision comes in light of the increasing number of migrants, which has put a strain on federal resources and raised concerns in various cities.
The wall’s construction will utilize funds from a 2019 appropriations bill specifically allocated for a border barrier in the Rio Grande Valley. Mayorkas emphasized that the DHS is obligated to use these funds for their intended purpose. He further highlighted the urgent need for physical barriers and roads near the US border to prevent unauthorized entries in the designated areas.
US Customs and Border Protection had previously unveiled plans to design and construct up to 20 miles of new border barrier systems in Starr County. This would include features like light poles, gates, cameras, and access roads. The public was invited to provide input between August and September.
Interestingly, some of the laws being sidestepped by the Biden administration for this construction are ones they previously sought to uphold. These include the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, and the Clean Air Act. Despite this, a CBP spokesperson assured that the agency remains dedicated to safeguarding the nation’s cultural and natural resources.
This week, top officials, including Mayorkas, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Attorney General Merrick Garland, and White House Homeland Security adviser Dr. Liz Sherwood-Randall, are scheduled to meet their Mexican counterparts in Mexico City for annual security discussions, with migration expected to be a central topic.
Original article source: CNN