Biden Administration Changes Tune On Border Wall

In a notable policy shift, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas voiced the urgent need for physical barriers and roads near the U.S.-Mexico border this week.

“There is presently an acute and immediate need to construct physical barriers and roads in the vicinity of the border of the United States in order to prevent unlawful entries into the United States in the project areas,” Mayorkas wrote in a DHS statement.

Recent data reveals just how acute the situation has become. Mayorkas, referencing Border Patrol stats, underscored the influx, noting: “As of early August 2023, Border Patrol had encountered over 245,000 such entrants attempting to enter the United States between ports of entry in the Rio Grande Valley Sector.” Traditional measures are not curbing the tide, necessitating a fresh and immediate response.

This call to action has been met with rapid legislative adjustments. The Biden administration disclosed its decision to waive 26 federal laws, enabling streamlined border wall construction in Texas. The increasing unauthorized entries in Starr County have primarily driven this bold move. The waived laws, including the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, and Safe Drinking Water Act, are vital steps in fast-tracking barrier projects, preventing any drawn-out legal challenges or extensive reviews that could stall the efforts.

Contrary to some assumptions, the budgeting for these projects will not burden current fiscal plans. Instead, the costs are slated to be covered by an appropriation passed by Congress in 2019, designated explicitly for border wall development in the Rio Grande Valley.

President Donald Trump, known for his staunch advocacy for a border wall, weighed in on the policy pivot. On Truth Social, Trump remarked, “So interesting to watch Crooked Joe Biden break every environmental law in the book to prove that I was right when I built 560 miles…of brand new, beautiful border wall.”

The Trump campaign told Fox News: “President Trump is always right. Instead, Crooked Joe Biden turned our country into one giant sanctuary for dangerous criminal aliens.”

It’s worth noting that this endorsement for border walls represents a marked departure from the Biden administration’s earlier stance. Only in 2021, President Biden announced a cessation of new border wall construction, labeling the efforts under the Trump administration as “misplaced priorities.”

But with the recent surge in illegal immigration, leading to record-breaking encounters at the border, priorities seem to have shifted.

While Republicans attribute these historic numbers to the rollback of Trump-era policies and cessation of border wall development, the Biden administration’s response focuses on the inadequacy of Congress’s provisions and calls for legislative action to mend a “broken” system.

All eyes now turn to Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s anticipated visit to Mexico. As border security, drug and arms trafficking, and escalating migration top the agenda, how bilateral talks might shape future policy decisions remains to be seen.