(UPI) — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday said it has issued a waiver to hasten legal requirements related to President Donald Trump’s immigration efforts — including his long-promised border wall.
The DHS said the waiver relates to certain border infrastructure projects in the Border Patrol’s San Diego Sector — one of the busiest in the United States — and covers a variety of environmental, natural resource and land management laws.
The DHS said it has the authority to issue the waiver due to powers granted by Congress, which stipulate the agency can install physical barriers and roads to deter illegal entry into the United States.
In a statement Tuesday, the DHS said it’s implementing Trump’s border security and immigration enforcement executive order as it “continues to take steps to immediately plan, design and construct a physical wall along the southern border.”
The agency said it will install “appropriate materials and technology” to acquire “complete operational control” of the border the United States shares with Mexico.
The DHS said its waiver will be officially published in the U.S. government’s Federal Register in the coming days, which will reveal details on what border security projects will be affected.
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.”
The agency, however, said it was committed to its responsibilities in preserving the environment, the local culture and historic artifacts “to the extent possible.”
The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a $788 billion national security bill that includes $1.6 billion towards a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Cost estimates for a completed wall go as high as $20 billion.
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