July 27, 2020

Waiving Historic Resources Laws at the Southern Border

by Erin Flannery Keith

The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) § 102 (codified as amended at 8 U.S.C. § 1103 note) and its amendments authorize the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to waive all legal requirements to expedite border barrier construction. This article highlights the cultural resources and historic preservation laws whose waiver the IIRIRA authorizes, identifies how waivers already have harmed cultural and historic resources on the U.S.-Mexico border, and explains why no challenges to DHS waivers have succeeded.

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