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Talking Points
Using the Secretary’s Waiver Authority
to Meet Border Barrier Requirements

- Operational Assessments by local Border Patrol Chiefs have identified locations along the
southwest border where pedestrian or vehicle fencing is required to protect our borders.
Based on these assessments, CBP is committed to having constructed a total of 370 miles of
pedestrian fencing and 300 miles of vehicle fencing by the end of Calendar Year 2008.
- Recognizing the importance and urgency of securing our borders, Congress, with the
President’s concurrence, mandated that construction of this required fencing be completed by
the end of Calendar Year 2008.
- As of March 21, 2008, a total of approximately 309 miles of fencing is in place along the
southwest border – approximately 169 miles of pedestrian fencing and approximately 140
miles of vehicle fencing.
- Approximately 361 miles of fencing (201 pedestrian fencing and 160 vehicle fencing) remain
to be constructed within the next 9 months.
- Of these 361 remaining miles, approximately 48 miles are under construction, under contract,
or deemed as military (Operation Jump Start or Joint Task Force North) projects, leaving
approximately 313 miles.
- Of those 313 miles, expeditious construction of approximately 234 miles are at risk are at
risk as a result of various legal impediments and potential administrative delays.
- After considering what we believe are all possible alternatives, the Secretary has decided to
exercise his waiver authority to allow these – as well as other important border barrier
projects – to proceed in a timely manner.
- He has issued two waivers
o One that covers certain environmental and land management laws for projects where
compliance with those laws or processes would prevent DHS from meeting its December
2008 mandate.
o Another waiver is solely for the Hidalgo County, Texas levee-border barrier project. In
addition to environmental and land management laws, this waiver addresses other legal
and administrative impediments to CBP and Hidalgo County entering into this mutually-
beneficial project together.
- As has been the case in the past where the Secretary has waived certain environmental laws,
he remains committed to proceeding in an environmentally sensitive manner and working
closely with the appropriate resource agencies to minimize any adverse impacts to the
environment, wildlife, and historic and cultural resources.

DRAFT Version 2 – March 24, 2008 FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY