WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a waiver to ensure the expeditious construction and replacement of approximately 12.5 miles of secondary wall near the international border in the state of California. The waiver was published in the Federal Register on February 7, 2019.
This waiver is pursuant to authority granted to the Secretary of Homeland Security by Congress. Congress has provided the Secretary of Homeland Security with a number of authorities necessary to carry out DHS’s border security mission. One of these authorities is found in section 102 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, as amended (“IIRIRA”). Section 102(a) of IIRIRA provides that the Secretary of Homeland Security shall take such actions as may be necessary to install additional physical walls and roads near the United States border to deter illegal crossings in areas of high illegal entry into the United States. In section 102(b) of IIRIRA, Congress has called for the installation of additional fencing, walls, roads, lighting, cameras, and sensors on the southwest border. Finally, in section 102(c) of IIRIRA, Congress granted to the Secretary of Homeland Security the authority to waive all legal requirements that the Secretary, in Secretary’s sole discretion, determines necessary to ensure the expeditious construction of the walls and roads authorized by section 102 of IIRIRA.
The approximately 14-mile bollard style wall project in San Diego that was awarded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on December 20, 2018, will include an area that begins near the eastern end of Border Field State Park and extends east to where the existing primary pedestrian fence ends.
Tactical infrastructure, when combined with the appropriate technology and personnel, significantly reduces the amount of illegal border entries and enhances the Border Patrol’s ability to secure the border. San Diego Sector was the busiest sector in the nation during the early 1990s. The construction of infrastructure has reduced illegal entries; however, more work remains to be done. In Fiscal Year 2018, there were over 38,000 apprehensions in the San Diego Sector by Border Patrol. In this Fiscal Year to date San Diego Sector has apprehended over 18,500 illegal immigrants, a more than 69 percent increase of the apprehensions for same period last fiscal year.
DHS remains committed to environmental stewardship. DHS has been consulting, and intends to continue doing so, with stakeholders including other federal and state resource agencies. Such consultation facilitates DHS’s assessment of potential impacts and informs its efforts to minimize, to the extent possible, potential impacts to the environment, wildlife, and cultural and historic resources.
The Department of Homeland Security continues to implement President Trump’s Executive Order 13767 - also known as Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements – and continues to take steps to immediately plan, design, and construct a physical wall along the southern border, using appropriate materials and technology to most effectively achieve complete operational control of the southern border.
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