The border security deal passed by Congress contains certain restrictions that would protect some areas in the Valley from a border wall.
The bill the President has yet to sign has protection over La Lomita Chapel, Bentsen State Park and other locations here in the Valley, but if the president declares a national emergency that could all change.
The proposed border security deal includes more than $1.37 billion for steel barriers.
“We will be voting on the budget, which includes 52, 53 miles of border barrier,” said Representative Vicente Gonzalez, (D-15).
Earlier this month, local Valley Representatives made sure the bill protected sensitive areas along the border.
Representative Gonzalez who is currently in Washington DC said they have been working hard to keep certain landmarks untouched.
“We have been fighting tooth and nail to keep a barrier out of our wild life refuge our butterfly reservoir and our mission there La Lomita,” said Gonzalez.
The bill prohibits construction along La Lomita Chapel, National Butterfly Center, Bentsen State Park, Santa Ana Wild Refuge and Vista Del Mar.
But if the President declares a national emergency, Mark Murray a political science professor with South Texas College says that could wipe out the deal.
“It’s still up in the air where the locations that they want to put the wall but I suppose the national emergency declaration could override the locations that were listed as off limits in this spending bill,” Murray said.
According to Murray, if the president declares this national emergency, lawsuits could follow.
“They would argue that this isn’t a national emergency that he is using it to get his wall that he promised during his campaign even though congress won’t appropriate the funds for it,” Murray said.
Gonzalez says he expects this executive action to be challenged just like some of the others,
“He declared you know preventing Muslims from coming into the country and different immigration executive actions he has taken that have been blocked by federal courts around the country,” Gonzalez said. “I think we will see that again.”