But wait… I thought that the money for the border wall was tied up in the general omnibus package and wouldn’t be decided on until the fall? Well, that’s still true, but there’s some construction about to get underway in San Diego anyway. The factor which makes this possible is that the first section to be built is a prototype. But since there’s no sense building a prototype out in the middle of nowhere you may as well put it on the border. (Free Beacon)
The Department of Homeland Security announced its plans to build a 15-mile prototype of the border wall in San Diego.
The department issued a waiver from numerous environmental laws and regulations to build the wall with “robust physical characteristics” to prevent illegal immigration crossings in an area of “high illegal entry.”
“The Department is implementing President Trump’s Executive Order 13767, Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements, and continues to take steps to immediately plan, design, and construct a physical wall along the southern border, using appropriate materials and technology to most effectively achieve complete operational control of the southern border,” the department said in a statement Tuesday announcing plans to issue the waiver.
A couple of interesting points on this. First of all, the approval for this project came from John Kelly as one of his final acts before vacating the premises at DHS to become Chief of Staff at the White House. Coincidence? Maybe. But around the same period you’ll recall that Kelly was looking for some maneuvering space when he seemed to soften his tone a bit and decided to call it “a barrier” instead of a wall. That was less than a week ago. This announcement also includes frequent references to a “barrier” so there’s some window dressing in here no doubt designed to smooth passage as part of the budget process.
Kelly also has the full support of Speaker Ryan, the man AP recently described as, “America’s newest, wall-building, border-enforcing hardass.” It’s been a long, strange trip for Paul Ryan (pardon the Grateful Dead reference), who was essentially an amnesty advocate at one point while seeking a “third way” on immigration reform. But the last election pretty well cemented the direction the GOP was taking and Ryan is on board with the President at this point.
What we should all be watching out for is what happens when the prototype construction begins. There will be protests galore, no doubt. But will they turn violent? I’m not going to put it past the same people who shipped in anarchists to set fire to millions of dollars worth of construction equipment at the Dakota Access pipeline to do the same in San Diego. But burning down a construction project in the Obama era with Loretta Lynch running the Justice Department may turn out to be a very different experience than what we’ll see in 2017.
Here’s my prediction. The first time the “peaceful protesters” set fire to something or there are some injuries, some sort of federal troops will be dispatched. California’s Governor will freak out and protest, likely refusing to get the National Guard involved, but there’s not much he could do beyond that. It’s something of a wet dream for liberals because the one thing they would love more than anything else is to get some big color glossies on the front page of the New York Times where Jill Stein and her friends are nose to nose in a screaming match with some ICE, Border Patrol, ATF or other officers in riot gear. And for Trump’s part, it’s still better than having them talk about Russia 24/7.
The circus isn’t closing down, folks. It’s simply moving on to another city.