You might not be aware that legislation already exists to build the U.S-Mexico border wall.
Back in October 2006, President George W. Bush signed the Secure Fence Act of 2006 into law. Bush released a signing statement, “This bill will help protect the American people. This bill will make our borders more secure. It is an important step toward immigration reform.”
In the bill, it specifies it is to secure America’s borders to decrease illegal entry and drug trafficking by building 700 miles of “physical barriers.”
But Congressional critics held up the bill and it never happened.
This week at Donald Trump’s first press conference, the President-elect corrected a reporter who asked about the “border fence” and responded saying, “First of all, it’s a wall, not a fence.”
Donald Trump also said in the press conference pertaining to the wall:
“I could wait about a year and a half until we finish our negotiations with Mexico, which will start immediately after we get into office.
But I don’t want to wait. Mike Pence is leading an effort to get final approvals through various agencies and through Congress for the wall to begin.
I don’t feel like waiting a year or year and a half. We’re going to start building.”
It’s unclear whether new legislation will be needed to clarify the minimum schematics that are not clearly laid out.
States may play an important role in arguing the definition of the word “barrier” and try to undermine a strictly federal project. Liberal states will likely sue over the interpretation of the word in order to prevent the construction of Trump’s project.
California, however, has other plans, and they don’t need to argue the interpretation of the word in a court of law.
California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said in an interview with The Golden State Podcast that he would use specific environmental laws in the state to stop the border wall from being built, at least in southern California.
Newsom told the podcast host:
“There’s something called CEQA in California—NEPA at the federal level. There’s indigenous lands and autonomies relating to governance on those lands.
There are all kinds of obstructions as it relates to just getting zoning approval and getting building permits. All those things could be made very, very challenging for the administration.”
The 1970 law is a frequent source of criticism for its unintended consequences, such as blocking the installation of bike lanes. Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to spur housing development last year collapsed in part because environmentalists and labor unions believed the plan was an end-run around the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
But Newsom hinted that if he could not actually stop the construction of the border wall in California, he would at least try to tie it up in bureaucratic battles – possibly by arguing semantics in the bill.
Part of the reason why the 2006 Secure Fence Act was held up was because of the cost of building the wall.
Trump dispelled any rumors the taxpayers would pay for it when he said:
“Mexico, in some form, and there are many different forms, will reimburse us. And they will reimburse us for the cost of the wall.
That will happen, whether it’s a tax or whether it’s a payment. Probably less likely that it’s a payment. But it will happen.”
It’s not like America can only build part of the wall and leave California exposed, because they’ll just come in through California and flood into the rest of the states.
It needs to be all 700 miles.
What do you think of California’s unwillingness to cooperate with President-elect Trump?