Historic Preservation

  • Bulldozer preparing the ground for border infrastructure replacement near Border Field State Park, San Diego May 31, 2018.

    Photo courtesy of KBPS News and U.S. Border Patrol.

Jennifer Boggs | Waiver Authority vs. Federal Preservation Laws: A Case Study on the U.S.-Mexico Border Wall

Jennifer Boggs (MSHP '21) won the Anthony Nicholas Brady Garvan Award for an Outstanding Thesis. 

Because of federal law waivers, former President Donald J. Trump Administration’s border wall and border infrastructure project threatened the existence of the American Southwests’ natural, archaeological, and historical resources—including Native American cultural patrimony. Legislation such as the National Historic Preservation Act and the National Environmental Policy Act require lead federal agencies to consider the potential adverse impacts their project may have on cultural and environmental resources prior to project commencement. However, when waiver authority is declared by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security federal agencies are no longer obligated to comply with existing federal preservation laws. The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol voluntarily performs environmental reviews called Environmental Stewardship Plans and Environmental Stewardship Summary Reports when waiver authority is declared. Yet, these reviews are not as comprehensive as the existing federal environmental procedures. Through this thesis, I analyze existing surveys of the areas, federal preservation legislation, and interviews with federal and state professionals to understand the implications waiver authority has on the cultural landscapes of the border wall region. In the end, I make general recommendations to avoid, minimize, or mitigate adverse impacts on cultural landscapes when emergencies justifying waiver authority are declared.

Download Jennifer Boggs' thesis, "Waiver Authority vs. Federal Preservation Laws: A Case Study on The U.S.-Mexican Border Wall."
View all Historic Preservation theses on Scholarly Commons.