Home > Immigration News > Bush Administration To Bypass Laws To Build Border Fence

Posted on April 1, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

Well, this is one way to do it. I’ve written a lot on this blog about the resistance Texas landowners are showing toward the building of a new fence along the Texas-Mexico border. Now comes word today that the Bush administration will plow ahead with the fence regardless of any opposition by landowners, by laws, or by regulations. Here are excerpts from a story today in the Dallas Morning News:

The Bush administration will use its authority to bypass more than 30 laws and regulations in an effort to finish building 670 miles of fence along the southwest U.S. border by the end of this year, federal officials said Tuesday. Invoking the two legal waivers — which Congress authorized — will cut through bureaucratic red tape and sidestep environmental laws that currently stand in the way of the Homeland Security Department building 267 miles of fencing in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, according to officials familiar with the plan. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly about it. As of March 17, there were 309 miles of fencing in place, leaving 361 to be completed by the end of the year to meet the department’s goal. Of those, 267 miles are being held up by federal, state and local laws and regulations, the officials said. One waiver will address the construction of a 22-mile levee barrier in Hidalgo County, Texas. The other waiver will cover 30 miles of fencing and technology deployment on environmentally sensitive ground in San Diego, southern Arizona and the Rio Grande; and 215 miles in California, Arizona and Texas that face other legal impediments due to administrative processes. For instance, building in some areas requires assessments and studies that — if conducted — could not be completed in time to finish the fence by the end of the year. Residents and property owners along the U.S.-Mexico border have complained about the construction of fencing. In South Texas, where opposition has been widespread, land owners refused to give the government access to property along the fence route. The government has since sued more than 50 property owners in South Texas to gain access to the land.

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