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Homeland Security To Waive Environmental Rules On Border Wall Projects

The Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday it is waiving certain environmental laws to expedite border construction projects, as President Trump keeps pushing for a U.S. -Mexico border wall.The DHS said the area near San Diego is one of the busiest USA border sections with a high volume of illegal entries and that there was an immediate need to improve the infrastructure. “To begin to meet the need for additional border infrastructure in this area, DHS will implement various border infrastructure projects”. Homeland Security said in its statement that the waiver could include additional fencing, barriers, lighting, cameras and sensors.Citing Section 102 of the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, the DHS said it has the authority to issue the waiver that eliminates the agency’s “obligation to comply with various laws with respect to covered projects”.Tuesday’s announcement represents one border-barrier expansion project going forward, as the administration still seeks funding for the kind of full-fledged wall Trump promised during the campaign. It issued such waivers five times during former President George W. Bush’s administration between 2005 and 2008.Member station KPBS points out that the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity already sued the federal government last month for failing “to prepare and publish legally required environmental impact analyses for the border wall”.In order to complete this task, Former Secretary of DHS John Kelly has “determined, pursuant to law, that it is necessary to waive certain laws, regulations and other legal requirements in order to ensure the expeditious construction of barriers and roads in the vicinity of the worldwide land border of the United States near the city of San Diego”.The case is before U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, a target of Trump’s enduring scorn over lawsuits that alleged fraud at the president’s now-defunct Trump University and were settled previous year shortly before trial. “We will build the wall”.”Don’t even think about it”, he said. The bill provides a total of 8.1 billion for defense spending for fiscal 2018, but it’s likely that Democrats will try to cut spending for the wall in the Senate.As the first step to deliver on one of his most divisive campaign pledges, the USA president signed a directive to begin the construction of a wall on the border with Mexico just less than a week after assuming office in Washington.