Trump Admin Bypasses Environmental Rules, Orders Wall Construction To Start Near San Diego

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Congress is furiously working on a border security deal to avoid another brutal shutdown. There are signals of a compromise coming from both sides, although it appears neither side is 100% happy.

If so, expect Trump to take a deal even if he doesn’t get the full wall funding he wants.

“We’re on the verge of a government shutdown again because Democrats won’t come to the table to have a conversation about securing the country,” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told reporters today.

As the debate continues most were unaware of new order to begin wall construction near San Diego.

From The Washington Examiner: The Department of Homeland Security announced Friday that Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has given U.S. Customs and Border Protection permission to ignore environmental and land regulations to expedite construction of a secondary barrier, or wall, that runs parallel to the primary one between Tijuana and San Diego.

The secondary wall is meant to run for 12 miles and is expected to be 18 feet tall, a sector spokesman told the Washington Examiner during a visit to the region last year.

The Army Corps of Engineers awarded the project in December.

The San Diego Sector is unique as a southwest border sector in that it has had a double wall for two decades, but it has still seen active smuggling efforts and increased illegal immigration in recent years.

Despite the double wall, people were easily getting over or through both of them, prompting the sector to step up its infrastructure.

In fiscal year 2018, the Border Patrol’s San Diego Sector, one of nine on the southern border, arrested 38,000 people. In the first four months of 2019, the region has hit nearly half the total number apprehended last year.

“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,” DHS said in a statement.

The “primary” wall, or that which is closest to Mexico, stretches 14 miles from Imperial Beach on the Pacific Ocean past the Otay Mesa port of entry and into the mountains, where it is difficult to travel on foot or vehicle.

Last April, CBP announced several projects that would replace and build new barriers on 100 miles.

Friday’s decision to skirt environmental review processes is the third since the fall. Late last year, Nielsen waived regulations for border projects in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

Nielsen stated in the Federal Register memo that she had the authority to make the exceptions under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, which states a chief can waive all legal requirements if a wall, road, or other infrastructure is immediately needed.