This week, the Biden administration said it would waive 26 federal rules in South Texas to allow the building of a border wall. This was the first time the administration used a broad presidential power that was used a lot during the administration of Donald Trump.
The Department of Homeland Security put the notice on the U.S. Federal Registry, but it didn’t say much about the work in Starr County, Texas, which is in a Border Patrol area with “high illegal entry.” The government says that so far this fiscal year, about 245,000 illegal arrivals have been recorded in the Rio Grande Valley Sector, which is made up of 21 counties.
Secretary of DHS Alejandro Mayorkas said in the notice that “physical walls and roads need to be built immediately near the U.S. border to stop people from coming into the U.S. illegally in the project areas.”
Some federal rules, like the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act, were broken by DHS so that building could begin. The money for the construction will come from a 2019 congressional appropriation. The agreements stop reviews that take a lot of time and cases that claim environmental laws were broken.
Even though there were no maps included in the announcement, CBP first talked about the project in June. In August, it shared a plan of the extra work that can add as much as 32 kilometers (20 miles) to the current border barrier system within the area to start getting public feedback. Eloy Vera, the judge for Starr County, said it will begin south of the Falcon Dam and then go past Salineño, Texas.
I agree with environmentalists who say that structures will go through public areas that are home to rare plants and animals like the spotted wild cat called the ocelot.
Between 2017 and January 2021, about 450 miles (724 km) of walls had been constructed along the southwest border by the Trump government. After the Biden administration stopped these attempts at the start of Biden’s term, Governor Greg Abbott of Texas started them up again.
The DHS decision this week is different from what the Biden administration said when they said they would stop building on January 20, 2021, because “constructing a massive wall that covers the whole southern border isn’t a serious policy option.”
CBP stated in a statement this week that the project is in line with the order from 2021. “Congress gave DHS money for fiscal year 2019 to build a border wall in the Rio Grande Valley, and they have to use that money for what it was meant for,” the statement said. “CBP is still dedicated to safeguarding the country’s cultural as well as natural resources, and as part of the initiative covered by this waiver, they will use eco-friendly methods.”