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Homeland Security waives contracting laws for border wall

Posted at 6:50 PM, Feb 18, 2020

The Trump administration is waiving federal contracting laws to speed construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall, moving the president closer to fulfilling a signature campaign promise in an election year but sparking criticism about potential for fraud, waste and abuse.

The Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday it'll allow 177 miles of wall to be built faster in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. A 2005 law gives the Homeland Security secretary sweeping powers to waive laws to expedite border barrier construction.

Last week, the Trump administration announced that $3.8 billion in funds appropriated by Congress earmarked for defense projects would be diverted toward funding the border wall. Nearly $1.5 billion of those funds were intended for projects earmarked for the National Guard, while the rest was intended to be spent on replacing aircrafts and ships.