The Biden administration has greenlit the construction of a new section of the border wall in southern Texas to curb the increasing influx of immigrants crossing into the United States from Mexico.
Despite Biden’s campaign promise not to build any border wall, around 20 miles of it will be constructed in Starr County, a region with many border crossings.
The administration’s change of course is because funding for the border wall had already been allocated, making it difficult for President Biden to halt the project entirely.
When asked about the wall’s effectiveness, Biden said, “No.”
The CBP in the US has defended its decision to use funds previously designated for a border barrier, stating that Congress allocated them as far back as fiscal year 2019 to construct a border barrier in the Rio Grande Valley.
The DHS was mandated to use these funds for this intended purpose.
A notice on the US Federal Registry by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas cited an urgent need to build physical barriers and roads to prevent unlawful entries into the designated areas.
Border Wall Sparks Controversy Amid Surging Immigration
The decision to proceed with the border wall project drew criticism from Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who deemed it contrary to President Biden’s prior stance.
López Obrador suggested that pressure from extreme right-wing political groups in the US may have influenced the decision.
The surge in illegal border crossings has been a contentious issue for the Biden administration, with over 245,000 hubs reported in the Rio Grande Valley area this year alone.
September is expected to witness a record number of crossings, placing immense strain on several US cities, including New York City, where Mayor Eric Adams anticipates that the cost of housing new arrivals may reach $12 billion over the next three years.
The move to construct the new section of the border wall has resulted in the waiving of numerous federal laws, including the Clean Air Act and Safe Drinking Water Act, angering environmentalists who argue that the structures will harm endangered plants and animals.
The proposed barriers will comprise large bollards in a concrete base with gates, cameras, and CCTV equipment.
Funding secured during the Trump presidency will be utilized for the project, marking the first time the Biden administration has approved new wall construction.
During Trump’s tenure, approximately 50 miles of new wall were built, and 400 miles of existing barriers were upgraded.
The border wall decision has further intensified the scrutiny of President Biden’s immigration policies, especially in light of the recent surge in migrants crossing into the US from the southern border, causing apprehensions to spike significantly.