Breaking: 30 laws, for the border fence

I see Magnifico caught this story in Four at Four, but tossing this post out there for depth’s sake.

We have to break the law in order to save it.

WASHINGTON – 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.

More below the fold…

This all stems from the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which called for deadlines with regard to completion, therefore putting it on a collision course with laws and regulations pertaining to environmental and private property issues:

NOTE: Deadline.>> In General.–Not later than 18 months after

the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland

Security shall take all actions the Secretary determines necessary and

to achieve and maintain operational control over the entire

international land and maritime borders of the United States, to include

the following–

           (1) systematic surveillance of the international land and

       maritime borders of the United States through more effective use

       of personnel and technology, such as unmanned aerial vehicles,

       ground-based sensors, satellites, radar coverage, and cameras;


           (2) physical infrastructure enhancements to prevent unlawful

       entry by aliens into the United States and facilitate access to

       the international land and maritime borders by United States

       Customs and Border Protection, such as additional checkpoints,

       all weather access roads, and vehicle barriers.

Another article I came across, this one in the Austin American-Statesman describing a specific example of the environmental protections they’re gutting bypassing:

In a letter obtained by The Associated Press, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service told U.S. Customs and Border Protection – a division of the Homeland Security Department – that its plan to combine Rio Grande flood levees with the border fence in Hidalgo County was a no-go because it would split critical habitat in its Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

The new design was created to mollify local officials who had been asking the federal government for years to help pay for levee improvements.

The March 3 letter from Deputy Fish and Wildlife Director Kenneth Stansell to Greg Giddens, executive director of the Secure Border Initiative, said “we were very concerned that after months of consultations on a proposed project design and reaching consensus on a way forward that satisfies the needs of both wildlife and a secure border, (Customs and Border Protection) would unilaterally propose a completely new design and request an immediate response from the (Fish and Wildlife) Service.”

The new design, which replaced the original “‘wildlife friendly’ fence design with an impermeable 16 to 18 foot high wall built into a flood control levee,” was not compatible with the refuge’s mission, the letter said, concluding that Homeland Security would have to waive the 42-year-old National Wildlife Refuge Administration Act to proceed with the design.

Apparently building an impenetrable concrete wall will make it hard for wildlife to access the Rio Grande, especially during migration. But hey, the people who want The Fence obviously hate Mexicans more than they need nature, so whatever.

Chertoff has a priceless statement tucked into each of the articles I found:

“Criminal activity at the border does not stop for endless debate or protracted litigation,” Chertoff said in a statement issued Tuesday.

He’s right. Criminal activity does not stop at the border, it goes on all the way to the halls of Washington, where heroes like him will continue to plow through laws until we’re all safe and white and shopping cheerfully as God intended. Bless you, Mikey Chertoff. You are a beautiful person! I am so glad you are in a position of authority in the United States government!


Statement from Roger Schlickeisen, President of Defenders of Wildlife:

“Thanks to this action by the Bush administration, the border is in a sense more lawless now than when Americans first started moving west.

“Laws ensuring clean water for us and our children-dismissed. Laws protecting wildlife, land, rivers, streams and places of cultural significance-just a bother to the Bush administration. Laws giving American citizens a voice in the process-gone. Clearly this is out of control.

“It is this kind of absolute disregard for the well-being and concerns of border communities and the welfare of our wildlife and untamed borderlands that has forced Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club to take a stand and say ‘No more!’

“Just a few weeks ago we filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court to fight the unconstitutional authority the Bush administration has seized to waive any and all laws it views as inconvenient in its rush to build an unpopular, ineffective border wall. Today’s egregious abuse of power is more proof that this cannot be allowed to continue.”


  1. in orange, too.

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