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Biden Admin Waives 26 Federal Laws To Allow Border Wall Construction In Texas



The Biden administration on Wednesday announced it waived 26 federal laws in order to allow border wall construction in South Texas.
The announcement from the Department of Homeland Security outlines areas of high illegal entry in Starr County, within the U.S. Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector, many of which are in the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge.
According to the agency, as of early August, Border Patrol encountered over 245,000 entrants in the areas in the 2023 fiscal year.
“There is presently an acute and immediate need to construct physical barriers and roads in the vicinity of the border of the United States in order to prevent unlawful entries into the United States in the project areas,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas stated in the notice on the U.S. Federal Registry.
Some of the laws waived for wall construction include the Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Federal Water Pollution Control Act, Endangered Species Act, Farmland Protection Policy Act, and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.
Others include a variety of environmental and wildlife protection laws as well as laws related to the preservation of archeological and paleontological sites.
For many Democrats, the move seemed at odds with a January 2021 proclamation from the Biden administration terminating the declared emergency at the southern border, and stating that, building a massive wall that spans the entire southern border is not a serious policy solution.
“A border wall is a 14th century solution to a 21st century problem. It will not bolster border security in Starr County,” Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) said in a statement. “I continue to stand against the wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars on an ineffective border wall.”
But the DHS notice specified that no new funds were being used for the new construction.
Construction will be funded by a fiscal year 2019 appropriation through which Congress appropriated funds for the construction border barrier in the Rio Grande Valley, and DHS is required to use those funds for their appropriated
purpose, the notice read.
The agency said this was consistent with the 2021 proclamation, which ended the diversion of funds for border wall from military projects or other sources while calling for the expenditure of any funds Congress appropriated for barrier construction consistent with their appropriated purpose.
TMX contributed to this article.