DHS Issues Environmental Waiver to Expedite New Border Wall System in Rio Grande Valley; Busiest Border Patrol Sector in the Nation
WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a waiver, which will ensure expeditious construction of approximately 65 miles of new border wall system within U.S. Border Patrol’s (USBP) Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Sector located in Starr, Hidalgo and Cameron Counties, Texas. These new miles are in addition to the 76 miles of new border wall system already constructed in the San Diego, El Centro, Yuma and El Paso Sectors.
RGV is the busiest Sector in the nation and accounts for approximately 40% of illegal alien apprehensions and, for Fiscal Year 2019, ranked first in seized cocaine and marijuana along the southwest border. The majority of its activity is occurring in areas where RGV has limited border wall, access and mobility, and technology. These projects will be located in areas where no barriers currently exist and will significantly improve the RGV Sector’s ability to impede and deny illegal border crossings and the drug and human smuggling activities of transnational criminal organizations.
The waiver was published in the Federal Register on October 31, 2019. Construction will begin in early 2020 pending availability of real estate. The contracts for these projects were awarded on September 29, 2019.
Border wall construction will not take place within the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, La Lomita Historical Park, Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, within or east of the Vista del Mar Ranch tract of the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, or the National Butterfly Center.
DHS remains committed to protection of the nation’s important natural and cultural resources. DHS has been, and will continue coordinating and consulting with other federal, state, and local resource agencies and other interested stakeholders to ensure that potential impacts to the environment, wildlife, and cultural and historic resources are analyzed and minimized, to the greatest extent possible.
CBP continues to implement President Trump’s Executive Order 13767 – also known as Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements – taking steps to expeditiously plan, design, and construct a physical wall using appropriate materials and technology to most effectively achieve operational control of the southern border.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with securing the borders of the United States while enforcing hundreds of laws and facilitating lawful trade and travel.