A stretch of border wall near Ysleta on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020. (Briana Sanchez/El Paso Times/TNS)
The Department of Homeland Security announced Friday that it will terminate border contracts in the Rio Grande Valley and Laredo.
In a media release, the federal agency said U.S. Customs and Border Protection, in coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, intends to cancel the remaining border barrier contracts located within U.S. Border Patrol’s Laredo Sector and all border barrier contracts located in the RGV Sector.
CBP will then begin environmental planning and actions consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act for previously planned border barrier system projects located within the RGV, Laredo, and El Centro Sectors, the release states.
Environmental planning activities will cover projects funded with DHS’s Fiscal Year 2018-2021 barrier system appropriations where construction had not started. These activities include additional biological, cultural, and natural resource surveys for project areas where no data have been previously collected.
The release also states CBP will conduct comprehensive and targeted outreach with interested stakeholders, including impacted landowners, tribes, state and local elected officials, and federal agencies.
These activities will not involve any construction of new border barrier or permanent land acquisition.
The Administration continues to call on Congress to cancel remaining border wall funding and instead fund smarter border security measures, like border technology and modernization of land ports of entry, that are proven to be more effective at improving safety and security at the border. Until and unless Congress cancels those funds, the law requires DHS to use the funds consistent with their appropriated purpose, and beginning environmental planning activities is part of the Department’s plan to do so.
The release added that this announcement has no impact on previously approved remediation projects necessary to address life, safety, and environmental restoration issues in the RGV, San Diego, and El Centro Sectors in accordance with the Department’s plan.
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Author: The Monitor