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Tag: border wall

Group of Republicans Criticize Trump’s Border Wall, Offers Multi-Faceted Alternative

border patrol 3By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s most famous campaign pledge – to build a border wall and get Mexico to pay for it – has been attacked by his own party as clumsy, cost-prohibitive and singularly focused.

On Thursday, a group of Republican senators unveiled legislation that would increase border security without having a severe impact on trade, the Washington Post reports

The legislation, which is backed the chamber’s No. 2 Republican, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, calls for $15 billion over four years to increase Border Patrol agents, ICE officers, immigration judges and prosecutors and to improve border security infrastructure such as fences, surveillance and levees.

“Border security is not a one-size-fits-all proposition; we need an approach that will work at each unique place along the U.S.-Mexico border,” Cornyn told reporters Thursday.

The idea, the senators said, was to “regain the public’s confidence” after what the Post called “several rocky legislative months.”

Homeland Security to Waive Environmental Laws to Erect Border Wall

An existing wall at border of Mexico. Photo via Congress.

An existing wall at border of Mexico. Photo via Congress.


By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A stretch of border wall will be replaced without an assessment to the environment, the Trump administration announced Tuesday.
The Washington Post reports that Homeland Security plans to waive requirements under the National Environmental Protection Act, which mandates extensive reviews of environmental impacts.
Calling it an overreach, the Center for Biological Diversity in San Diego plans to challenge the decision.
The Post wrote:

It will mark the sixth time that the department has exercised that authority since 2005 and the first time since 2008.

A law passed in 2005 gave Homeland Security broad authority to waive “all legal requirements” to build border barriers following years of ultimately unsuccessful court challenges to border wall construction in San Diego on grounds that it violated environmental laws.

Congress passed the law to blunt similar efforts elsewhere and it led to hundreds of miles (kilometers) of new U.S.-Mexico border fencing in the final years of President George W. Bush’s administration to its current total of about 650 miles (1,040 kilometers).

Last week, the House of Representatives approved the administration’s request for $1.6 billion to start building Trump’s border wall, which would include replacing 14 miles (22 kilometers) in San Diego covered by the latest waiver and building 60 miles (96 kilometers) of new barriers in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley. It was unclear if or when Homeland Security would issue waivers for Texas, which is currently the busiest corridor for illegal crossings.

Trump Proposes Cuts to TSA, Secret Service, FEMA to Pay for Border Wall

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump wants to free up money for his border wall by mulling cuts to the Coast Guard, TSA, Secret Service and FEMA.

The budget reductions would cut deeply into notable national security and emergency response initiatives, ABC News reports. 

Under the proposal, the administration would cut $1.3 billion from the Coast Guard’s budget, which is a 14% reduction over last year.

TSA stands to lose more than $500 million, and FEMA would be cut by $370 million.

But whether Trump can get Congress to approve the reductions is an entirely different story. Republicans and Democrats questioned the wisdom of the budget cuts.

“The White House needs to go back to drawing board with its budget and produce something to Congress that is workable, realistic, and, most importantly, keeps our country safe,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi, the top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee.

Other Stories of Interest

Homeland Security Candidate Distances Self from Trump on Border Wall, Russia

Marine Gen. John Kelly

Marine Gen. John Kelly

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President-elect Donald Trump and his nominee for secretary of Homeland Security don’t see eye to eye on two critical issues.

During his confirmation hearing Tuesday, retired Marine Corps General John Kelly expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of a border wall and said that he agrees “with high confidence” that Russia tried to influence the presidential race, Bloomberg reports.  

“A physical barrier in and of itself will not do the job” at the border, Kelly said. Instead, he favors a “layered defense,” including the use of border patrol agents and technology such as drones that would work in “places that perhaps the wall can’t be built or will be built any time soon.”

Kelly said he’s talked about the wall with Trump “only briefly.”

If confirmed, Kelly would be the first former general to lead Homeland Security since it was created in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001 terror attack.

“I have never had a problem speaking truth to power, and I firmly believe that those in power deserve full candor and my honest assessment and recommendations,” Kelly said in his opening statement.