DHS Expedites Border Wall Project in San Diego … say what?

MUST READ: Is this the trick that President Trump has up his sleeve? 
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In the last few days, Trump has seemed way too sanguine about the outcome of the conference committee trying to hash out a budget resolution … especially since the best case (from Trump’s perspective) is a token amount of money that is tightly specified so that it’s not to be used to construct a “wall”.

Trump also has signaled that he won’t force another government shutdown and won’t declare a national emergency … and, indicated that he might be able to operate under existing “executive authority“.

So, what’s he got up his sleeve?

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In a prior post, we posed a gut-check question for Pelosi (and anybody else) who says that walls are immoral and don’t work:

Should the border wall between San Diego and Tijuana be torn down?

Well, late Friday afternoon when the media was busy with the Bezos and Virginia fiascos,  the San Diego – Tijuana story took a strange twist.

The DHS issued a press release headlined “DHS Issues Waiver to Expedite Secondary Fence Replacement Project in San Diego“.

image
click to view the press release on the DHS site

This may be a signal of what’s to come, so let’s drill down on it…

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The action being taken:

Specifically, DHS announced that it is issuing “a waiver to ensure the expeditious construction and replacement of approximately 12.5 miles of secondary wall near the international border in the state of California.”

Read that carefully … it says “construction and replacement” … “wall” … “in the state of California”.

Hmm.

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The justification that the DHS provides:

San Diego Sector was the busiest sector in the nation during the early 1990s.

The construction of infrastructure has reduced illegal entries; however, more work remains to be done.

In Fiscal Year 2018, there were over 38,000 apprehensions in the San Diego Sector by Border Patrol.

In this Fiscal Year to date San Diego Sector has apprehended over 18,500 illegal immigrants, a more than 69 percent increase of the apprehensions for same period last fiscal year.

Let’s parse that part of the press release:

Despite Dems’ claims to the contrary,  illegal immigration is increasing … and border stretches that aren’t protected with operative walls are particularly vulnerable.

Accordingly, this waiver was issued because of an urgent, escalating need (aka an “emergency”).

Double hmm.

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The legal authority:

This waiver is pursuant to authority granted to the Secretary of Homeland Security by Congress.

Congress has provided the Secretary of Homeland Security with a number of authorities necessary to carry out DHS’s border security mission.

One of these authorities is found in section 102 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, as amended (“IIRIRA”).

Section 102(a) of IIRIRA provides that the Secretary of Homeland Security shall take such actions as may be necessary to install additional physical walls and roads near the United States border to deter illegal crossings in areas of high illegal entry into the United States.

In section 102(b) of IIRIRA, Congress has called for the installation of additional fencing, walls, roads, lighting, cameras, and sensors on the southwest border.

Finally, in section 102(c) of IIRIRA, Congress granted to the Secretary of Homeland Security the authority to waive all legal requirements that the Secretary, in Secretary’s sole discretion, determines necessary to ensure the expeditious construction of the walls and roads authorized by section 102 of IIRIRA.

This section of the press release is worth re-reading a couple of times.

Note: I hadn’t heard of IIRIR and was a bit suspicious when I noticed that IIRIRA was enacted in 1996.  There was no DHS in 1996. Turns out that the authority was originally granted to the AG, then later transferred, by amendment to DHS

Bottom line: The press release lays out a legal rationale for building walls without additional Congressional approval.

Triple hmm.

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Let’s pull the pieces together:

1) The DHS press release was issued late Friday afternoon on a busy news day … with the clock is winding down on the conference committee’s negotiations.

As of this morning, I haven’t heard this DHS action reported on any new shows.

2) The press release lays out the “modality” (i.e. border walls and fencing). the justification (an increasing flow of illegal immigrants), the legal authority (the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act ).

3) This specific waiver deals with 12.5 miles of fencing along the San Diego – Tijuana border.

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So what?

I may be jumping the gun on this, but it seems to me that Trump has laid open his plan of attack in the likely case that he gets skunked by the conference committee.

No government shutdown … no declaration of a national emergency .

Just exercising his executive authority (via DHS) granted by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act.

Note: It’s not clear (to me) whether IIRIR provides funding … or just authority to act . 

Also, it wasn’t immediately clear to me if IIRIR authority was restricted to this specific California stretch of border. 

Quick digging found that in October 2018, DHS issued a similar waiver for  a stretch of border in Hidalgo County, Texas. Source

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P.S. And, oh yeah, if Pelosi tries to countermand the move … the first casualty is a 12.5 mile stretch of badly needed security barriers along her beloved California’s southern border.

All of which closes the loop on this story.

I’d see Pelosi tell her San Diego constituents not to worry … because walls are immoral and don’t work.

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One Response to “DHS Expedites Border Wall Project in San Diego … say what?”

  1. What you need to know about the border wall bruhaha… | The Homa Files Says:

    […] See DHS Expedites Border Wall Project in San Diego … say what? […]

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