Border fence exempted from NAGPRA, other laws

The Department of Homeland Security is moving ahead with a 700-mile fence along the U.S.-Mexico border that is exempt from repatriation and environmental laws.

Secretary Michael Chertoff has issued three exemptions for construction of the 12-to-15-foot-tall steel fence. He has the power to do so under a rider that was passed by Congress in 2004.

The National Congress of American Indians and tribes along the border in California and Arizona opposed the rider. Tribes are worried about damages to sacred sites and burial grounds.

But the law allows DHS to bypass the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, the Bald and Golden Eagle Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Endangered Species Act, the executive order on environmental justice and the executive memorandum on sacred sites.

Get the Story:
Border Fence Project Raises Environmental Concerns (The New York Times 11/21)

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