TUCSON -- The power-abusing Bush/Cheney/Chertoff Department of Homeland Security announced outrageous plans today to issue two waivers that would bypass over 30 laws and regulations so 470 miles of more US-Mexico border walls can be built this year in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
In addition to the failed Iraq war, Bush's legacy will be America's new Berlin Wall along our southern border with our friendly neighbors in Mexico.
US Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ7) said: "Secretary Chertoff is abusing the authority granted him by the Congress with this ham-handed waiver.
“With the stroke of his pen, he overturns 36 laws – some of which have been protecting our resources and our health for more than a century -- in an area stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean.
“It is a ridiculous claim that he cannot protect the border without overturning the National Park Service Organic Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Antiquities Act, the Native American Graves Protection Act and 31 other laws.
“These waivers are an attempt to wreck more than a century of protections for our resources and the health of our communities by an Administration on its way out of town.
“A waiver this broad and poorly conceived is not leadership; it is laziness.
“My legislation, the Borderlands Conservation Security Act, HR 2593, will set a precedent that communities must be consulted. HR 2593 upholds that there must be a public process and transparency with border security initiatives. HR 2593 does not impede or deny border security but it restores confidence in this government to uphold laws as it pursues security.
“This waiver undermines our communities and denounces our resources for a wall that will not make the border stronger.”
US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ8) said: "The secretary’s waiver announcement is outrageous. My office was not consulted prior to the issuance of this waiver. It also appears that no state or local elected officials in my district were consulted. Community groups were kept in the dark as well. This is unacceptable.
"A federal government construction project of this magnitude will impact significantly on local residents, communities and the environment. Those of us who live on the border and represent border communities deserve a seat at the table.
"Congress passed a law last year which contained a requirement that would ensure consultation with local officials and land owners before the waiver would be used. The spirit of this law was violated by today’s announcement.
"Strengthening border security is a national priority. Few know that better than my constituents in Southeastern Arizona, where the failure of the federal government to enforce our immigration laws is apparent every day.
"We must balance the need for strong border security with the rights of private land owners and the potential environmental impacts that can result from the construction of a border fence. Our desert lands are fragile and we must be vigilant in protecting them. Our residents are key partners in enforcing immigration laws. Alienating them is counter-productive and irresponsible."
The Real-ID act waiver must be repealed.