Homeland Security waives contracting laws for border wall

FILE PHOTO: New bollard-style U.S.-Mexico border fencing is seen in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, U.S., as pictured from Ascension, Mexico August 28, 2019. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez/File Photo

SAN DIEGO (AP) — President Donald Trump’s administration is waiving federal contracting laws to speed construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

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 and bring the Republican president closer to his pledge of 450 miles by year’s end.

A 2005 law gives the Homeland Security secretary sweeping powers to waive laws to expedite border barrier construction. Acting Secretary Chad Wolf tells Fox News Channel he hopes the move “will accelerate some of the construction that’s going along the Southwest border.”

The move is expected to spark criticism the Trump administration is overstepping its authority.

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