WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt has transferred administrative jurisdiction of approximately 560 acres of Federal lands to the U.S. Department of the Army to build roughly 70 miles of border barriers.
The transfer comes after the Army submitted Emergency Withdrawal requests so they can construct more barriers along the southern border following President Trump’s national emergency declaration in February and the Defence Department’s announcement to defer $3.6 billion to fund 11 barrier projects in September.
“I’ve personally visited the sites that we are transferring to the Army, and there is no question that we have a crisis at our southern border. Absent this action, national security and natural resource values will be lost. The impacts of this crisis are vast and must be aggressively addressed with extraordinary measures,” said Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. “The damages to natural resource values are a byproduct of the serious national security, drug enforcement, and other immigration challenges facing our dedicated staff along the border. Construction of border barriers will help us maintain the character of the lands and resources under our care and fulfill our mission to protect them.”
The lands requested for these projects include:
- El Paso 2 (170 acres in Luna and Hidalgo counties, NM): Replacement of existing vehicle barrier with pedestrian barrier.
- El Paso 8 (43 acres in Hidalgo County, NM): Construction of new primary and secondary pedestrian barriers.
- San Diego 4 (43.77 acres in San Diego County, CA): Construction of new primary bollard fence and secondary pedestrian barrier.
- Yuma 3 (228 acres in Yuma County, AZ): Replacement of the existing vehicle barrier adjacent to the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge (CPNWR) with pedestrian barrier.
- Yuma 6 (73.3 acres in Yuma County, AZ): Construction of both new primary and secondary pedestrian barriers.
“We made it a priority to work closely with the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense, to protect the wildlife, natural, and cultural resources that occur on these federal lands along the border. This work will provide the necessary tools to enhance the safety of those that live, work and recreate in this region,” said Casey Hammond, Acting Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management. “Through this collaboration we will maximize safety and stewardship, benefitting all Americans in response to this crisis.”
The land transfer is active for three years.
No national parks nor segments from Indian country are included in the land transfer.