A Republican-Democrat spending bill being offered to President Trump mandates that the White House have approval from left-wing Starr County, Texas officials before the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can begin building a wall at the region’s U.S.-Mexico border.
Slipped into a funding bill that provides about $1.3 billion for 55 miles of border wall construction is a provision that prevents the Trump administration from constructing the barrier until DHS officials seek input from Starr County, Texas locals and city officials.
The spending bill mandates that Trump must “seek to reach a mutual agreement regarding the design and alignment of physical barriers” with Starr County “local elected officials,” including those from:
- Roma, Texas
- Rio Grande City, Texas
- Escobares, Texas
- La Grulla, Texas
- Salineno, Texas
The deal demands Trump’s DHS to continue “such consultations” with local elected officials about the border wall until September, or until an agreement is reached. In the meantime, the spending bill stipulates that the administration cannot build any barriers “while consultations are continuing” with local elected officials.
It is not just local elected officials who have to approve of border wall construction, though. The spending bill mandates DHS open a public comment period by July, giving the public at least 60 days to voice opinions about the construction of a barrier in their county.
The rule has the potential to tie up the Trump administration in court with local elected officials who may object to a border wall in their county.
Other contingencies in the spending bill include a provision dictating what type of a border wall can be used. None of the prototype border wall designs built for testing in the San Diego desert are permitted for use by DHS. Instead, the wall must continue to be steel bollard-style fencing that both the Bush and Obama administrations used at the southern border.
The spending bill reiterates and expands the areas of the border where Congress wants to prohibit Trump from erecting barriers to stop illegal immigration. These regions include the Bentsen-Rio State Park, the National Butterfly Center, the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge, La Lomita Historical Park, and the Lower Rio Grande Wildlife Refuge between Brownsville and the Gulf of Mexico.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.