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DHS invoking legal waivers to finish US-Mexico border fence: report

[JURIST] The Bush administration plans to invoke legal waivers to push through completion of 267 miles of fencing along the US-Mexico border [GlobalSecurity backgrounder; JURIST news archve] by the end of this year, federal officials said Tuesday according to AP. The waivers, authorized under Title I sec. 102 of the Real ID Act [PDF text; JURIST news archive], would allow the government to circumvent over 30 local and environmental laws currently blocking the fence's construction.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff [official profile] has already invoked the waiver power three times during the fence's construction, although this would be the most sweeping use yet. In October, Chertoff used a waiver [JURIST report] to circumvent an October federal district court ruling that halted fence construction in Arizona on environmental grounds. In September 2005, he used it to waive provisions of various laws, including the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the Clean Air Act [texts]. In January, he used it to push fencing through the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range in Arizona [DW press release]. AP has more.

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