Current law authorizes the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to waive all state, local, and federal laws—including environmental and land management laws, for example—as necessary to expedite the construction of barriers and roads near United States borders. The department has exercised its waiver authority in recent years, including in 2018 and 2019. H.R. 1232 would repeal this authority for any future construction.
The Congress appropriated about $1.4 billion for fiscal year 2019 for construction of barriers along the southern U.S. border. CBO expects that implementing the bill could result in DHS modifying its future plans for constructing barriers in certain areas or moving some projects to other sites. Implementation of the bill could change the rate of future spending on barrier projects, but CBO does not expect total DHS spending over the next few years to change significantly.