While Congress still hasn't appropriated funds for Trump's fantasy border wall, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was able to identify existing funds the agency could use to fund the creation of small prototype walls that will be constructed in Southern California.
In an effort to build their prototypes, the agency has announced that it will waive environmental regulations along the border just south of San Diego.
Environmental impact studies generally are required under federal law for building on public lands but in this case the waiver will eliminate a study.
Homeland Security will oversee the installation of extra barriers, roads, lights, cameras and sensors under the authority of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) of 1996, it said. The start date for the project was not immediately known.
The act grants the secretary of homeland security authority to waive requirements to comply with various laws to ensure the building of barriers and roads, while being mindful of cultural and environmental impacts, the statement said.
I expect my next post on this subject will concern the legal challenges that will undoubtedly be filed against the agency's decision to waive environmental regulations. I expect activist and advocacy groups and possibly even the state of California will challenge the decision.
The agency may have the authority to waive environmental regulations along the border, but it's the caveat that the agency must be "mindful of cultural and environmental impacts" that could prove troublesome in court.
The department may be asked to demonstrate in federal court that they were actually mindful of anything other than pleasing their dear leader Donald Trump.
I don't know if legal challenges will be successful, but I do know every delay the Trump regime faces puts a border wall further and further out of reach. Considering the amount of time it takes for a case to works it way through the federal court system and eventually the Supreme Court, even if Congress were to fully fund a border wall tomorrow it could conceivably be tied up in court until after the end of Trump's term in office.