Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced on Monday that due to the dire conditions on the U.S.-Mexico border, the administration is invoking its legal right to waive numerous laws and regulations. This move is aimed at rapidly constructing sections of the border wall in south Texas, where the region is grappling with a surge of illegal immigration.
Mayorkas explained in an announcement on the U.S. Federal Register that the situation at the border necessitates the waiver of certain laws and regulations to facilitate the speedy construction of physical barriers and roads. The goal is to prevent unlawful entries into the United States.
In his announcement, Mayorkas acknowledged the administration’s challenges in securing the border and its open-border policies. He cited the alarming fact that nearly a quarter of a million illegal aliens were apprehended in August alone, not counting those who escaped detection and entered the country undetected.
Multiple areas within the Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector, which are experiencing high levels of illegal entry, have been designated as “project areas.” The administration has invoked its authority to waive 26 laws, including those related to environmental protection, historical preservation, and wildlife conservation, to expedite the construction process.
It’s worth noting that there are still significant stretches of the U.S.-Mexico border lacking adequate security measures following the Trump administration’s tenure. While the Trump administration did complete 450 miles of border wall, most of this involved replacing outdated barriers. Only 85 miles of entirely new border wall were constructed in areas without preexisting barriers during that time.
The current administration’s decision to waive laws and regulations highlights the urgency it perceives in addressing the border crisis, even if it requires sidestepping certain legal requirements to do so. Critics argue that this approach undermines environmental and conservation protections, while proponents argue it’s a necessary response to the border’s immediate challenges.