Homeland Security waives contracting laws for border wall

In this Nov. 7, 2019 file photo, the first panels of levee border wall are seen at a construction site along the U.S.-Mexico border, in Donna, Texas. The Trump administration said Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020, that it will waive federal contracting laws to speed construction of the border wall with Mexico. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

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

The Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday it will allow 177 miles of wall to be built more quickly in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas and will bring the Republican president closer to his pledge of about 450 miles by the end of this year.

The 10 waived laws include requirements for having open competition and justifying selections.

A 2005 law gives the Homeland Security secretary sweeping powers to waive laws to expedite construction of border barriers.

The move is expected to spark criticism that the Trump administration is overstepping its authority, but legal challenges have failed.

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