Tagged: Department of Homeland Security

Trump administration fast-tracks replacement of California border wall section

(USA TODAY) — President Donald Trump’s administration is waiving a list of laws and regulations to speed up the construction of a two-mile segment of border wall in Calexico, replacing a stretch of wall that was built in the 1990s.

The Department of Homeland Security issued the waiver of federal laws on Tuesday, saying it’s an “area of high illegal entry” and that replacing the outdated barrier is a high priority.

The department said in a notice published in the Federal Register that the existing 14-foot fencing will be replaced with an 18-to-25-foot barrier “that employs a more operationally effective design.”

The Trump administration is waiving 28 federal laws, ranging from the Clean Air Act to the National Environmental Policy Act, to expedite the project.

That decision prompted criticism from the Sierra Club, which said rolling back safeguards that protect public health and the environment is wrong.

“People in Calexico now are being denied the protections afforded to them by really important laws such as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act,” said Dan Millis, a campaign organizer for the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter in Tucson, Ariz. “Somehow it’s OK for the people in Calexico to be excluded from these protections?”

Millis said it’s irresponsible for the Trump administration to “ignore this nation’s most effective laws to deliver an extremist agenda.”

The administration has similarly waived 37 laws and regulations to build prototypes of Trump’s planned border wall and replace existing infrastructure along a 15-mile stretch of the border near San Diego.


Trump administration preparing Texas wildlife refuge for first border wall segment

(TEXAS OBSERVER) — by Melissa del Bosque

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.

The official said that the Department of Homeland Security picked the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge as the first site for a border wall segment because it’s owned by the federal government, avoiding legal entanglements with private landowners. At least 95 percent of the Texas border is privately owned. As the Observer’s June cover story, “Over the Wall,” detailed, at least one-third of the 320 condemnation suits filed against landowners in 2007 are still pending.


Trump administration unveils first step in building border wall

(ZERO HEDGE) — In the first tangible step toward delivering on Trump’s campaign promise to halt unauthorized immigration from Mexico, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Friday released plans for picking vendors for President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall, issuing a preliminary request for proposals saying it plans to release a formal solicitation around March 6 “for the design and build of several prototype wall structures in the vicinity of the United States border with Mexico.”

In a document on the federal government’s website for business opportunities, the CPB said it would release a request on or about March 6 asking companies for prototype ideas for a wall to be built near the U.S.-Mexican border. Vendors were asked to submit prototype concepts by March 10. After reviewing the ideas submitted by vendors, the agency will evaluate and select the best designs by March 20, then issue a request for proposals by March 24 in which vendors would be asked to price out the cost of building the proposed wall.

A spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection told Reuters the solicitation published on Friday had “everything to do” with the wall that Trump has proposed. The spokesman said the initial request for information was to give industry the opportunity to tell the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees CBP, what is possible in constructing a border wall. “Once we get feedback from the vendors, we’ll look at the ones that are most feasible,” the spokesman said. That would be followed by the request for proposals to firm up exactly how much constructing the wall would cost.